Cottonmill is a residential enclave in St Albans with ample green spaces, and is far more than just an estate. We found out more about the area...

The main road going through the Sopwell and Cottonmill areas is Cottonmill Lane, which begins from the junction with Old London Road and Sopwell Lane and runs through to Mile House Lane, with views of the cathedral along much of the route.

Herts Advertiser: The eastern end of Cottonmill Lane is surrounded by countrysideThe eastern end of Cottonmill Lane is surrounded by countryside (Image: Peter Wares)


Cottonmill Lane was named after a cotton mill at the bottom of the hill, on the River Ver. The mill was built in the 18th century, and was previously a water mill and used to polish diamonds.

In the early 19th century the production changed to spinning and weaving cotton and manufacturing candlewicks. After 1833 the site was also used for open air baths.

Herts Advertiser: The Ver path The Ver path (Image: Peter Wares)

The area changed dramatically in the 1930s with the building of the Mentmore estate, which was followed by the Cottonmill and St Julian's estates after World War II.


St Julian's C of E Church was founded in 1952 to serve the growing Cottonmill estate.

Initially based in a Nissen hut, the church moved to its current building on Abbots Avenue in 1956 and now hosts a number of community events and activities.

In the early 1950s the community raised money to build the Cottonmill Baptist Church on Abbots Avenue, which closed in 1968 after merging with the Park Street Baptists.

The site remained vacant until 1976, when it became a Christadelphian church.

Herts Advertiser: The River Ver


There is a small strip of shops, including a convenience store and a hair salon, at Abbots Avenue West. A larger parade at Vesta Avenue also offers a mix of takeaways, grocery stores and other amenities.

The nearby Abbey View Retail Park on Griffiths Way is home to McDonald's, the Range and an Aldi.

Herts Advertiser: The Fenny's Boardwalk part of the riverThe Fenny's Boardwalk part of the river (Image: Peter Wares)


Nearby pubs include The Hare & Hounds, The White Lion, The Goat and The King Harry, and the upmarket Sopwell House is also nearby.

Herts Advertiser: The Hare & Hounds in CottonmillThe Hare & Hounds in Cottonmill (Image: Peter Wares)


St Albans Abbey Station offers a direct link to Watford, while the less convenient St Alban City station has fast trains to London on the Thameslink line.

Immediately south of Cottonmill is the A414, and the A1(M) and the M25 are both close by. Bus routes connect the estate with the stations and the city centre.


Mandeville is the main primary school for the Cottonmill area, which was rated 'good' at its most recent Ofsted inspection.

Other primary schools nearby are St Adrian's Catholic Primary, Prae Wood and St Peter's, all of which have 'good' Ofsted ratings. 

For secondary-age children the nearest school is the Marlborough Science Academy (rated 'good'), while Watling View (rated 'good') caters for children and young people aged two to 19 with learning disabilities.


There are currently no properties for sale in the Cottonmill area.

Amenities and attractions  

The Cottonmill area is home to a variety of green spaces.

The Alban Way stretches for six and a half miles and provides a walking and cycling route between Cottonmill Lane and Wrestlers Bridge in Hatfield.

Herts Advertiser: The Alban Way

The Watercress Wildlife Association's nature reserve, which is maintained by volunteers, is also near to Cottonmill.

Nature lovers can enjoy the River Ver Trail, which passes through the area on its 17-mile route from Kensworth Lynch to Bricket Wood.

Walkers can follow the chalk stream for a picturesque tour of attractions - including Holywell Hill and the Nunnery fields.

The fields contain the ruins of the historic Sopwell Nunnery, which dates back to 1580, and provide a scenic spot for visitors.

Herts Advertiser: Sopwell NunnerySopwell Nunnery (Image: Peter Wares)

There is also open space at Marlborough Pavilion, which has a BMX track, football pitch and a multi-use games area.

From the 1970s, a social club - known variously as the Cottonmill Club and the Marlborough Club - stood on the site. 

The club was closed down following a fire in 1994, a year after Radiohead played there.

For keen gardeners, the Cottonmill area has several allotments, and plots are available to hire from the council.

The St Albans Sub Aqua Club on Cottonmill Lane has an outdoor pool used for swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling and underwater hockey.

Herts Advertiser: Sopwell NunnerySopwell Nunnery (Image: Peter Wares)