Area Guide: The historic Apsley area of Hemel Hempstead
Herts Ad Property team
- Credit: Jane Howdle
Situated in the valley of the Chiltern Hills, at the confluence of the rivers Gade and Bulbourne, Apsley is widely seen as the birthplace of paper's industrial revolution.
Apsley Mill began making paper in 1778, and was bought by industry giant John Dickinson in 1809; his paper mills, which were based along the Grand Union Canal, dominated local industry, finally closing in 1999.
The canal meant Apsley was ideally located for the trade route between London and the Midlands, and is now beloved by walkers and cyclists travelling between Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead.
Housing has replaced some of the former industrial buildings, while others now operate as pubs and cafés, among other attractions.
Also of interest is St Mary's church, a Grade II listed building which was first consecrated in 1871.
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An excellent road network is also close at hand, with the M1, M25 and A41 all nearby. Fast trains from Apsley to London Euston take half an hour.
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Apsley's housing stock consists mainly of flats and terraced houses, many of them with water views.
Canalside homes currently for sale include a three-bed penthouse at Evans Wharf for £430,000 and a two-bed flat at Stephenson Wharf for £300,000. Both have views of Apsley Marina.
The most expensive property currently available in Apsley is a six-bed detached house on Dunnock Close, which has an asking price of £765,000.
There are some excellent educational institutions in Apsley, including Two Waters Primary School in High Ridge Close, which was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted at its last inspection.
Nearby secondary schools include Kings Langley School and Longdean School (both 'good').
Abbot's Hill School on Bunkers Lane is an independent day school for girls aged four to 16, which also accepts boys into its nursery.
Sport and leisure
Fishing is allowed along the canal, but don't forget your rod licence! Canoeing is permitted, too, and you can also tee off at the tranquil Victorian Shendish Manor golf course.
Then there's the Frogmore Paper Mill museum on Fourdrinier Way. The world's oldest mechanised paper mill, it's been in operation since the 1700s and now doubles as a not-for-profit attraction. with its own visitor centre.
COVID restrictions permitting, it offers an opportunity to try your hand at paper making, plus a short cruise down the Gade to the canal.
Apsley Mills Retail Park on London Road is home to stores including The Range, Wren Kitchens, Carpetright and Argos.
Food and drink
Your food needs are well catered for in Apsley, with the marina offering up a number of dining options. These include Marina Spice Lounge on Dickinson Quay, which is considered one of the best restaurants in the wider Hemel area, and Calzone Essential pizzeria.
The Paper Mill serves pub grub and refreshing beer at a relaxing terraced canalside location on Stationers Place.
The Oddfellows Arms on the corner of London Road and Weymouth Street is a live music pub with a cosy beer garden.