Area Guide: Smallford
- Credit: Archant
Nestled right between St Albans and Hatfield is the small but perfectly formed village of Smallford.
With a population of just 373, it’s in the civil parish of Colney Heath but in the district of St Albans in the county of Hertfordshire.
It was served by Smallford Railway Station on Hatfield and St Albans Railway, which is now a cycle path known as Alban Way.
The station closed to passengers in October 1951 and shut completely in January 1969.
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In November 2012, the Smallford Residents’ Association announced they received £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project called ‘Bringing the History of Smallford Station to Life’ led by volunteers from the area. The idea is to focus on the history of Smallford Station, the branch line it served and impact on nearby communities.
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There are great regular bus links from Smallford to both St Albans and Hatfield, from where you can get trains to London in under half an hour. It’s about a 20-minute bus ride from Smallford to St Albans and Hatfield town centres. The A1(M), M1 and M25 to London and the north are all easily accessible by car from Smallford.
Oaklands College campus is located on Hatfield Road. Formerly site to the agricultural college, it still teaches courses in these areas but many other general qualifications and full and part-time courses can be studied there. The University of Hertfordshire is also on your doorstep as a leading provider of higher education.
Notcutts Garden Centre is much more than a garden centre, with its café, small pets and fish to look at and buy and wonderful shop. Every year, it’s seasonally packed with treats and gift ideas, with Christmas visits to see Santa and the festive decorations, beautifully-dressed trees and other goodies. Well worth a visit for kids of all ages!
There is also a Busy Bees private day nursery for children on Hatfield Road, a veterinary surgery and cattery and a Shell petrol station selling newspapers, drinks and snacks.
The Galleria shopping centre is five minutes away on a bus or in the car and has many shops including a Gap clothes outlet store, a Waterstones bookshop and Clarks, Bench, Holland & Barrett, JD Sports and M&S clothes outlet. There’s also a toy shop, Superdrug and Moss Bros. suit sellers and TK Maxx and several outdoor camping/clothes shops.
Market city St Albans with its exciting mix of main chain stores and independent shops is within easy reach by car, bus or taxi. Take a stroll round Verulamium Park or visit the historic Abbey or the Clock Tower while you’re there.
Hatfield town centre has some less desirable shops and most everyday items you could want are on sale in one of the giant Tesco or Asda superstores, which is a few minutes by car.
The Galleria is also home to an Odeon cinema, which has all the latest films, seven days a week, and Get Wild! – a jungle-themed adventure for kids aged one to 12 that has plenty of space for parents to relax with coffee and a newspaper, while their little ones climb.
Willows Farm is a short drive away and a popular family outing, with large and small farm animals, small fun fair rides, bouncy castle, bird centre, indoor soft play with giant slides and ride-ons for tots. You can go to see little live shows for children at regular intervals, take a tractor ride and feed the animals if you buy food.
There’s a farm shop with great gift ideas as well as lots of local food produce, an outdoor clothing shop and a photography studio.
Food and drink
As mentioned, there are coffee shops and cafes in Nottcutts and at The Galleria.
The Three Horseshoes is a popular pub with a large beer garden for alfresco eating and a roaring log fire in winter. It provides country inn charm, seasonal food in unspoilt surroundings and carefully nurtured cask ales and fine wines.
Other food options are available at The Galleria to take away or eat in. It has a wide variety of places to suit many tastes on different budgets, including McDonalds, Burger King, Frankie and Benny’s, Nando’s, Chiquito, Harvester, Pizza Express, Bella Italia, Prezzo and Real China.
Private gyms Nuffield and David Lloyd are situated within a mile and offer all types of sporting and leisure facilities.
Westminster Lodge is a council-owned pool at the bottom of St Albans city centre off Holywell Hill. This leisure centre offers a climbing wall, classes, baby pool with fun features, kids’ parties and a small soft play area for a fee. There’s also a council-run pool in Hatfield.
Notably, Smallford is host to St Albans RFC, St Albans’ highest placed community club and the city’s first open rugby club.