Teeing off with new St Albans Ryder trail

A GOLF trail celebrating one of St Albans’ most famous residents is now open for all to enjoy.

Samuel Ryder, best remembered as founder of the Ryder Cup, lived in St Albans for over 40 years and to mark his achievements in the sporting, business and political worlds, a new 18 ‘hole’ - or points of interest - trail was launched at a ceremony in the Comfort Hotel on Holywell Hill, Mr Ryder’s old head office, last Thursday.

The trail, which includes both a short nine-hole version and a longer 18-hole walk, takes you on a tour across St Albans, stopping off at Ryder-related spots such as The Old Meeting House off Lower Dagnall Street, where he dispatched catalogues and orders for penny packets of seeds - a business Mr Ryder began in the garden shed of his Folly Lane family home.

The shorter nine-hole course, which takes approximately 45 minutes at a stroll, also winds its way to the old Exhibition Hall on Holywell Hill, now Cafe Rouge, where Mr Ryder showcased flower beds filled with plants grown from Ryder’s seeds.

Spicer Street’s Independent Sunday School, where Mr Ryder was appointed superintendent, and The Independent Chapel, where he worshipped, are also included.

At the launch ceremony, Mayor of St Albans Cllr Maxine Crawley thanked the trail’s joint sponsors - St Albans District Council, St Albans Civic Society, St Albans and Herts Architectural and Archaeological Society and St Albans city and district tour guides - and said that she was proud to represent the city where Ryder, a former St Albans mayor, spent most of his life.

She added: “It not only celebrates a great man in St Albans’ history but takes tourists and residents on a magical mystery tour of our wonderful city. Not everyone is free to take part in scheduled guided tours so the new ‘do-it-yourself’ guide allows people more freedom to explore in their own time.”

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Members of the Ryder family attended the ceremony and Diana Kearsley, Mr Ryder’s great-niece, said of the attention: “I feel very proud - it is a tremendous recognition of a great man. Samuel was a somewhat humble man so he would have been amazed by all this!

“We are very thankful to the people of St Albans, who have taken the time, money and necessary decision to bring the trail about.”

To obtain a leaflet and try the walk out for yourself, visit the council’s tourist and information centre in Market Place, St Albans, e-mail tic@stalbans.gov.uk or ring 01727 864511.