Area Guide: The quiet Jersey Farm area of St Albans
- Credit: Archant
A residential area a couple of miles north-east of St Albans city centre, Jersey Farm is a suburban enclave with its own identity. We found out more about it.
Jersey Farm is a purpose built estate standing on what, until 40 years ago, was farmland.
It was named by a well known tuberculosis researcher called Dr Corner, who moved to Evans Farm, Marshalswick, in 1931 and named it after his herd of Jersey cows. He died in 1945, aged 81, and his daughter Hilda continued running the farm and dairy business, eventually selling it to the Royal London Mutual Insurance Company for housing development.
Despite fierce opposition from locals, planning permission was granted to build on 118 of the 309 acres of farmland, and work commenced in 1977. Things didn’t go entirely to plan, however.
The Queen Anne farmhouse - now the site of St Brelades Place - was to have been the centrepiece of the estate, but it was devastated by fire in 1979. One section of the farm was excavated as a gravel quarry – now the Jersey Farm adventure playground.
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Further plans to develop the remaining area as sporting grounds met with opposition and consequently became Jersey Farm Woodland Park, a 55-acre area of woods and wildflower meadows, instead.
The Jersey Farm Residents Association was established in 1979. Run by volunteers, it acts as a voice for the local community and organises events such as fireworks displays and Christmas parties.
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In addition to the vast Woodland Park there’s Jersey Farm Open Space, parts of which were once used for landfill. Now home to an adventure playground, it’s soon likely to house a half-pipe skate ramp after controversial plans were given the go-ahead by the district council planning committee in March.
Jersey Lane is a handy path connecting Marshalswick to Sandridge. Popular with walkers and cyclists, it provides a useful shortcut for those navigating the residential streets on foot. Harness Way playground can also be accessed easily from Jersey Lane.
St Brelades Place is Jersey Farm’s community hub, and home to a range of shops including a Tesco Express, a pharmacy and a bike shop.
Further amenities including doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries and The Jersey Farm Community Centre. Activities that have taken place here over the years include keep fit, dance, and Tai Chi.
Food and drink
St Brelades Place is home to three well-used takeaways: Bengal Spice Indian, Jersey Farm Chinese Cuisine and Jersey Farm Kebab & Pizza.
The Blackberry Jack, also at St Brelades Place, is a traditional local pub serving a wide range of food in a family friendly setting, with vegan, vegetarian and kids’ menus also on offer. Big screen sport is also available.
The pub was named in a competition, ‘Blackberry Jack’ being the winning entry. This came from the stories of a local tramp who lived in ‘camps’ in the blackberry bushes around the local fields, whose name was actually Bill or William. ‘Jack’ came from the name of another tramp who wore a long white coat and spent most of the time drunkenly wandering between St Albans and Borehamwood.
The closest schools are all in neighbouring Marshalswick, with popular primaries including Skyswood Primary & Nursery School (rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted), St John Fisher Roman Catholic Primary (‘good’) and Wheatfields Infant and Junior Schools (rated ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ respectively). Sandridge School (‘good’) is another option, located just north of Jersey Farm in the pretty village of the same name.
Sandringham is the closest secondary school (rated ‘outstanding’), but like many of the more sought-after schools in St Albans it is always oversubscribed.
Jersey Farm is one of the more affordable areas of St Albans. Properties currently on the market include a four-bed detached house on Kingsmead for £625,000 and a two-bed semi-detached bungalow on Cheriton Close for £385,000.
St Albans and Hatfield train stations are both a short drive away, as are the A1(M) and M25.
Regular buses connect Jersey Farm to St Albans, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.