Area Guide: The Hertfordshire hamlet of Napsbury Park
PUBLISHED: 09:29 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:29 19 October 2018
South of St Albans and next-door to London Colney is Napsbury Park, a unique development with a rich history. We found out more about it…
The Hertfordshire hamlet of Napsbury Park is a residential area immediately west of London Colney.
Listed by English Heritage as a Grade II Historic Park and Garden, it was once the home of a purpose-built mental asylum.
A shortage of suitable facilities in the local area saw the purchase of Napsbury Manor Farm by the local authority in 1898. Designed by Rowland Plumbe to accommodate 1,152 patients, it opened in 1905 as Middlesex County Asylum.
An extension was designed by Plumbe in 1908 to provide nurses’ quarters and accommodation for 600 additional patients.
The grounds were designed by William Goldring in an informal parkland style, including garden areas for each block as well as a communal cricket pitch with an Arts & Crafts-style pavilion.
During the First World War the army took over and the asylum briefly became the County of Middlesex War Hospital.
The hospital closed in 1998, and property developer Crest Nicholson acquired the site in about 2002. While some of the original buildings were demolished, many remained to be converted into apartments, while new detached and terraced houses were built alongside.
Now a private residence with over 500 dwellings, Napsbury Park remains an impressive site. Goldring Way - named in honour of the grounds’ designer - is the main route through the development.
Homes currently for sale include a five-bed terraced house on Boyes Crescent for £925,000 and a one-bed flat in West Hall for £325,000.
Things to do
Home to some of Hertfordshire’s most glorious parkland, Napsbury offers the perfect day out for walkers and cyclists keen to take advantage of its varied pathways, tracks and bridleways.
Land that is enjoyed by all residents and visitors, the Park offers 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 local life, the likes of which include a golf society, a running club and a baby and toddler group.
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.
Napsbury is a short drive from both St Albans and Radlett, where trains to St Pancras take between 20 and 30 minutes. Road links are also excellent, with the M25, A1 and M1 all close at hand.
State schools close to Napsbury Park include Bowmansgreen Primary School and London Colney Primary & Nursery School (both rated ‘good’ by Ofsted).
Samuel Ryder Academy in St Albans is 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.