Area Guide: The pretty Hertfordshire village of Colney Heath
- Credit: Archant
A small village nestled between St Albans and Hatfield, Colney Heath balances its semi-rural setting with excellent links to the A414 and the A1(M). We found out more about this part of Hertfordshire.
Colney Heath is part of the St Albans District, with the North Orbital Road (A414) and Colney Heath marking the southern boundary of St Albans and Hatfield aerodrome marking the northern limit.
Colney Heath Parish Council also incorporates Highfield Park, Oaklands, Smallford, Sleapshyde and Tyttenhanger – a population of approximately 4,000 residents.
Colney Heath lies south of the A414 and the M25 is easily accessible, with an interchange less than two miles away. Bus routes connect Colney Heath to St Albans, and St Albans City and Hatfield stations offer direct rail services to London.
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Colney Heath JMI School is located on the High Street, in the heart of the village. The latest Ofsted report praised the school at its most recent inspection in 2016, with ‘good’ ratings across the board for its overall effectiveness.
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Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School is one of the closest secondary schools, located across the A414 on Colney Heath Lane. The co-ed school opened its doors in 1963 and is rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.
Other nearby secondary options include Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School (‘outstanding’) and Onslow St Audrey’s School (‘requires improvement’) in Hatfield.
Sports and leisure
The recreation ground, situated behind the primary school, is home to Colney Heath Football Club. Founded in 1907, the ‘Magpies’ play in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.
Green fingered locals can rent allotment plots in Gloucester Park, just off Hill End Lane, Highfield, from the parish council.
Shopping, eating out and other amenities
Featured in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for over 20 years, The Crooked Billet on High Street is one of Herts’ oldest free houses. Popular with locals and walkers, this traditional pub offers a warm welcome and a range of tasty meals including Sunday roast.
Other village amenities include a newsagent, a post office, a hairdresser and The Rice, a popular takeaway, offering Bangladeshi, Indian and vegetarian food.
To the west end of the High Street is St Mark’s Church, which describes itself as “an all age family on a journey of learning to learn from Jesus”.
Landmarks and history
Colney Heath was once a busy trade route into London. The three coal posts - two on the Common and one on Coursers Road - 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.
Tyttenhanger House on Coursers Road is a Grade I listed mansion set within 42-acres of parkland. Its estate was owned by the Abbot of St Albans Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries, and Sir Thomas Pope acquired the land in 1547.
In the mid-17th century his manor house was demolished and replaced with a new mansion, which still stands today (with more recent additions). The house passed down through Pope’s family until 1973 when it was converted into commercial offices.
The Mill House, also on Coursers Road, is an impressive Grade II listed historic building. It was originally a smock mill in the 1850s but has long since been converted for residential use.
During the mid-18th and 19th centuries, the Heath became the haunt of highwaymen and was renowned for prize fighting, cock fighting and card gambling.
The parish council has 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 Alban Way and Smallford Trail are particular local favourites.
The village is twinned with Boissy-sous-Saint-Yon in France since 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.