Area Guide: In and around Napsbury Park
PUBLISHED: 11:13 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:13 03 July 2017
Many have heard of Napsbury, but few have discovered the beauty and tranquility of the Hertfordshire landscape it possesses - until now.
Napsbury Park, now listed by English Heritage as a Grade II Historic Park and Garden, was constructed in 1898 and has since played a fundamental role in notable Hertfordshire events. During the war effort it was known as County of Middlesex War Hospital, nursing wounded soldiers back to health, before returning to its original purpose as Middlesex County Asylum, caring for thousands of patients at a time.
Renovation between 1898 and today has given Napsbury Park an edge that is seldom found in other historic properties, with stories of its past shown in the varied style of the place. Now a private residence with over 500 dwellings, Napsbury Park remains an impressive building that casts its iconic shadow across surrounding land.
The Park has evidence of habitation dating back to prehistoric and Roman times and is also mentioned in the Domesday Book. During the 14th century there was a house on the site called Tylehouse where clay was dug for making tiles and bricks. The house then fell into the hands of Nicholas Bacon, father of Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount of St Albans.
Napsbury is a short distance from St Albans and all the amenities it has to offer; a regular bus service is available for trips into the thriving city and easy journeys to St Albans City station. A train ride will have you in London in just 20 minutes, as will the train service from Radlett station. A handy network of major roads, M25, A1 and M1, all offer accessibility by car for any road-trippers wanting to stay in the area.
Things to do
Home to some of Hertfordshire’s most glorious parkland, Napsbury is the perfect day out for keen walkers and cyclists. Napsbury Park, on the southern edge of St Albans, consists of several varied and undulating pathways, tracks and bridleways.
Land that is enjoyed by all residents and visitors, the Park has offered summer spots for picnicking, relaxing and exercising, as well as two playgrounds for children to enjoy, playing fields, tennis courts, football and basketball courts and a pavilion. With so many leisure facilities at their fingertips it’s no wonder the Napsbury residents are an active bunch, with societies and clubs playing an important role in village life, the likes of which include a golf society and running club.
Napsbury has a keen, conservationist community working to maintain the species of flora and fauna on the local landscape, as well as the many species of tree - moved to Napsbury during the war, for fear of their impending destruction. The ecological pursuits of the locals have been strengthened over recent years by the enthusiastic impact of the Napsbury Park Residents Association.
With easy access to a handful of popular nearby towns, there is no shortage of things to do in and around Napsbury. Though the village itself doesn’t possess a high street, restaurant or pub, there is an endless catalogue of options in St Albans, Radlett and London Colney, all within a few miles of Napsbury’s borders.
State schools close to Napsbury Park include Bowmansgreen Primary School (rated ‘good’ by Ofsted), London Colney Primary & Nursery School (‘requires improvement’) and Samuel Ryder Academy, an ‘all-through’ school accommodating pupils aged four to 19 on the same site. It was rated ‘good’ at its last inspection. Nearby fee-paying alternatives include Edge Grove, Manor Lodge, St Albans School and St Albans High School for Girls. A regular bus service and a short distance to surrounding towns makes travelling to and from school a doddle.
A small hamlet that lies on the outskirts of St Albans, Napsbury offers all the ease of country living with the handy nearby amenities of a thriving town. A true Hertfordshire gem with community spirit and a sprawl of beautiful rural land.