Area Guide: The Apsley area of Hemel Hempstead
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Now a suburb of Hemel Hempstead, Apsley has a rich history as a renowned centre for paper manufacture. We found out more about this part of Hertfordshire.
Situated in the valley of the Chiltern Hills, at the confluence of the rivers Gade and Bulbourne, Apsley is widely seen as the birthplace of paper's industrial revolution.
Apsley Mill began making paper in 1778, and was bought by industry giant John Dickinson in 1809; his paper mills, which were based along the Grand Union Canal, dominated local industry.
The canal meant Apsley was ideally located for the trade route between London and the Midlands, and is now favoured by walkers and cyclists travelling between Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead.
The former industrial buildings now operate as pubs and cafés, among other attractions.
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Also of interest is St Mary's church, a Grade II listed building which was first consecrated in 1871.
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Direct train links from Apsley station to London Euston take around half an hour.
An excellent road network is also close at hand, with the M1, M25 and A41 all nearby.
Apsley's housing stock consists mainly of terraced and semi-detached houses and one and two bedroom flats, many of them with water views.
A handful of canalside homes are currently for sale, including a two-bed apartment on The Embankment for £325,000 and a brand new one-bed flat on Albion Court for offers in excess of £250,000.
There are some excellent educational institutions in Apsley, including Two Waters Primary School in High Ridge Close, which was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted at its last inspection.
Nearby secondary schools include Kings Langley School and Longdean School (both 'good').
Abbot's Hill School on Bunkers Lane is an independent day school for girls aged four to 16, which also accepts boys into the nursery. It was a boarding school until 2003 and still retains a communal feel.
Sport and leisure
Fishing is allowed along the canal, but don't forget your rod licence! Canoeing is permitted, too, and you can also tee off at the tranquil Victorian Shendish Manor golf course.
Then there's the Frogmore Paper Mill museum on Fourdrinier Way. A paper mill since the 1700s, it now doubles as a not-for-profit attraction with its own visitor centre, office space and various classes, including life drawing and bookbinding.
While it may have diversified, it continues to fulfil its original function on a smaller scale, including making banana stem paper for cosmetics chain, Lush.
Apsley Mills Retail Park on London Road is home to stores including Carphone Warehouse, The Range, Argos, Carpetright and Currys PC World.
Food and drink
Your food needs are well catered for in Apsley, with the marina offering up a number of dining options. These include Marina Spice Lounge on Dickinson Quay, which is rated one of the best in the wider Hemel area, and Calzone Essential pizzeria.
The Paper Mill pub serves tasty grub and refreshing beer at a relaxing terraced canalside location on Stationers Place.
The Oddfellows Arms on the corner of Weymouth Street provides the chance to share a drink in an intimate setting and enjoy live music and comedy, while Bull Rodizio is a unique Brazilian steakhouse with fine service.