Area Guide: Colney Heath
- Credit: Archant
St Peter’s Rural Parish was split in 1947, making Colney Heath a civil parish in its own right, a charming counterpart to its larger neighbour London Colney.
Semi-rural Colney Heath is a traditional and attractive Hertfordshire village with a population of approximately 6,000 residents. It is part of the St Albans District. The A414 and Colney Heath mark the southern boundary of St Albans (Hatfield aerodrome marks the northern limit).
Without any council tax exemptions, smaller properties in Band A can expect to pay a council tax bill of £1,007.94, while the average home in Band D would receive a bill of £1,511.90. The most expensive homes in Band H would pay £3,023.80.
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There are two schools here; one primary and one secondary. Colney Heath school, with its central location on the High Street, has a warm learning environment and a strong family focus. The latest Ofsted report praised the school with a ‘good’ rating and recognised its impressive ability to serve the ‘community well’. Pupils proudly don the school logo, which represents Colney Heath’s vibrant natural surroundings. Learning also takes place outside the classroom; children can play in the wonderful willow structure within the school grounds.
Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School first opened its doors in 1963. This secondary school aims to nurture the spiritual well-being of its pupils, helping them reach their full academic potential, and is well equipped with superb sports facilities. Their all-weather surface pitch is currently classed as one of the best in Hertfordshire. Nicholas Breakspear shares its sixth form provision with John Henry Newman Catholic School in Stevenage, providing students with a broader education experience.
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Colney Heath lies south of the North Orbital Road and the M25 is easily accessible, with an interchange less than two miles away. The area is connected to St Albans city centre via the 304 bus route. The county council are currently working with local bus operators to improve the bus service provision in the area. Nearby Potters Bar and St Albans stations offer direct trains to London.
Sports and Leisure
The recreation ground, situated behind the village primary school, is home to Colney Heath Football Club. Founded in 1907, the ‘Magpies’ play in the South Midlands Football League Premier Division. Allotment plots in Gloucester Park, just off Hill End Lane, Highfield, can be rented from the parish council for those with green fingers.
Shopping and eating-out
British pub culture is celebrated in Colney Heath. There are two public houses, serving good food and real ale. They are still linked together by ancient footpaths. The Chalkdrawers Arms, situated to the east of village on Roestock Lane, is a reminder that chalk was once extracted locally. Featured in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for over 20 years, The Crooked Billet is one of Herts oldest free houses. Their ‘SmokeHouse’ barbecues are popular with the locals in the summer. Other village amenities include a newsagent, a post office, a hairdresser and an Indian restaurant selling take-away meals. To the west end of the High Street is St Mark’s Church,which has three services on Sundays.
Landmarks & History
Colney Heath was once a busy trade route into London. The three coal posts - two on the Common and one in Coursers Lane - are historically significant. They are among some 36 coal posts in south Hertfordshire which mark London’s ancient customs boundary and thus the limit of Metropolitan Police authority. Coal tax was introduced in the 17th century to help pay for the cost of rebuilding London after the Great Fire in 1666. Duties on coal were levied until 1897.
The Mill House, situated on Coursers Road, is an impressive grade II listed historic building. It was originally a smock corn mill in the 1850s and was converted for residential use in the early 2000s. A 60 acre Hertfordshire Heritage site can be found bordering the River Colne. Once owned by the Abbot of St Albans Abbey, until the dissolution of the monasteries, it is the last remnant of the old manorial lands of Tyttenhanger. Sir Thomas Pope acquired the land in 1547, sustaining local people with Common rights to graze. During the mid-18th and 19th centuries, the Heath became the haunt of highwaymen and was renowned for prize fighting, cock fighting and card gamblers. Over the years, the area diminished due to land enclosure and losses, such as the Mill in 1862, to make way for residential development.
The Parish Council have adopted an active management strategy, involving zoned mowing, to maintain the biodiversity of the site. Today, there is open public access to the Common. Visitors can enjoy a good network of footpaths; the Albans Way and Smallford Trail are particular local favourites. The village is twinned with Boissy sous Saint Yon in France. Town twinning started in Europe after the Second World War, with an aim to repair damaged relationships between France, Germany and the UK. In 1982, Colney Heath Parish Council chose Boissy because it was the same size as Colney Heath and the same distance from Paris as Colney Heath is from London. The Town Twinning Association hosts many social events in the Village Hall. On the outskirts of the village, on the way to St Albans, are two new roads, St Yon Court and Boissy Close, named after Colney Heath’s French twins.
Properties in the area are distinct and diverse, ranging from pretty period cottages to more modern new-builds. The village mostly contains substantial semi-detached properties with spacious leafy gardens. Last year, popular roads such as Tollgate Road and Roestock Lane averaged a price of £350,000 per home. The average price for a terraced home is £321,665 and for a detached house, it’s £990,000.