Area Guide: The 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 strong identity. We checked out what the area has to offer.
Until 40 years ago, the residential area that is known today as a Jersey Farm was farmland. In fact, it was known as Evans Farm until a well-known tuberculosis researcher called Dr Corner moved to the farm in 1931 and decided to name it after his herd of Jersey cows.
Corner 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.
Fast forward to 1977 and permission was granted to build on 118 of the 309 acres of farmland, despite strong opposition from locals. Unfortunately things didn’t go entirely to plan: the Queen Anne farmhouse – now the site of St Brelades Place, which would have been the centrepiece of the estate – was destroyed by a fire in 1979.
One section of the farm was excavated as a gravel quarry, now the Jersey Farm adventure playground, but further plans to develop the remaining area as sporting grounds met with opposition. Consequently, this land 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 is Jersey Farm Open Space, parts of which were once used for landfill. Now it is home to the adventure playground, which also holds a half-pipe skate ramp.
Jersey Lane is a useful path linking Marshalswick to Sandridge. Popular with walkers and cyclist, it provides a handy shortcut for those navigating residential streets on foot.
Also, just a short walk from Jersey Farm is the 858-acre Heartwood Forest, which is the largest continuous new native forest in England, and is a magical place to explore, with miles and miles of woodland.
Jersey Farm's community hub can be found at St Brelades Place, which is home to a range of shops including a Tesco Express, a pharmacy and a bike shop.
Other amenities include doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries and The Jersey Farm Community Centre, which provides a base for lots of clubs for residents of all ages.
Food and Drink
St Brelades place is home to three well-used takeaways: Bengal Spice Indian, Jersey Farm Chinese Cuisine and Jersey Farm Kebab and Pizza.
The Blackberry Jack 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. The Blackberry Jack is also located at St Brelades place.
The pub was named in a competition, ‘Blackberry Jack’ being the winning entry. It was called this due to stories of a man 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 man who wore a long white coat and spent most of the time drunkenly wandering between St Albans and Borehamwood.
Just outside Jersey Farm but still within walking distance is The Potting Shed cafe, which makes a pleasant pitstop on a stroll up to Heartwood Forest.
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 (rated ‘outstanding’), but like many of the more sought-after schools in St Albans it is always oversubscribed.
While far from cheap, Jersey Farm is one of the more affordable areas of St Albans. Homes currently on the market locally include a one-bed terraced house on Milford Road for £300,000 and a three-bed detached house on Holborn Close for £750,000.
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.