Stanmore – Borehamwood Walk – 15.07.2012

Our walk of the day was to take us around Stanmore and back up to Borehamwood, via the London Loop – or so we thought! This walk was to prove to take us around in circles and drive us around the loop, rather than actually walk along it LOL

Even as we started out we began to discover things. We immediately encountered an unusual sign “Site of Restored Blast Shelter”.  Stanburn School has surviving examples of the Air Raid shelters which were built in their grounds during the Second World War.  These shelters were built during the winter of 1939 and used heavily throughout the time of the Blitz (September 1940 – May 1941) and towards end of the War (June 1944 – March 1945)  during the V1 and V2 raids on London.   Whilst the Children were in the Shelter all of there lessons would still continue!  The School had been using the shelters as a storage facility, but after 2005 they felt that they would restore them and in 2008 they were fully restored!

We left the air raid shelters behind and continued our walk onto Old Church Lane. We diverted off the lane to walk through “Stanmore Park”. As we did so, I spotted through the trees a lovely old Ruin. In fact it was a brick spire from the “St John the Evangelist” Church. This Church was built in 1632 and was consecrated by William Laud the Bishop of London of the time. He wrote in his diary for 1632

“Julii 17, Tuesday, I consecrated the church at Stanmore Magna in Middlesex, built by Sir Jo Wolstenham”

Sadly for William Laud, after the English Civil War, when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, he was put on trial and one of the charges which were put against him was the consecration of this very church and in January 1645 he lost his head at the scaffold in the Tower.

The present church, which was built to replace it in 1851, resides just behind it. As this was the case we could not see the newer church, this was a shame as apparently the church has a stained glass window by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. The foundation stone of the newer church was laid in 1850 by the Earl of Aberdeen in the presence of Queen Adelaide who was living at Bentley Priory at the time 🙂 Although the brick church is no longer officially used as a church, it is still consecrated and is used occasionally for services.

From 2012 – 15.07.2012 – Stanmore – Borehamwood Walk

As we were strolling through this quiet residential area of “Stanmore Park” we wouldn’t really have known that in years gone by it has been used by the RAF Fighter Command, a Boys School until 1938 and previous to that the 18th Century Mansion was a home to a Bankers family. The Mansion was built by the Drummond family in 1763, the grounds that surrounded the mansion had been redesigned by the well known Capability Brown and was it was seen as one of his best works. During the late C18th the estate grew in size and when the mansion was used as a School the fish pond was converted to a swimming pool! Sadly when the Air Ministry took over the property in 1938 they demolished the mansion to make way for RAF Stanmore.

Our walk took us away from Stanmore Park, over Uxbridge Road and into the lovely “Bentley Priory Nature Reserve”. It was nice to be able to return here as I said I would! It was a nice day to enjoy it too! We decided to veer off the path, as we thought we would like to look at the pond we could see in the distance. I must admit the ground was extremely difficult to walk, it was very muddy and still damp from the rain. I don’t think it helped as this was also grazing land for the cows! It was still worthwhile walk over to the little Boot Pond looks like a nice place to sit and ponder.

From 2012 – 15.07.2012 – Stanmore – Borehamwood Walk

We were going to take the route through Bentley Priory that would eventually join up with the “London Loop” to take us up to “Stanmore Common”. The path was quite smooth through the park, particularly as most of it is cemented over. I actually didn’t mind on this occasion, after experiencing how wet the ground still was after the rain that we have been having. The path wound it’s way through Heriot’s Wood and then past the Deer Park. In fact when we saw the deer, we immediately thought of Christmas as they looked like Santa’s Reindeer as most of them had antlers, they were so cute! I am not quite sure about the history of the deer in this park, but if anyone knows, please do let me know!

The path at this point became more of a muddy track but it wasn’t too bad to difficult to traverse. It was not long before we came out into the open and we had finally joined the London Loop. Our path was to lead us out of Bentley Priory Nature Reserve Completely. It was odd little path, as it ran alongside a barbed wire fence. We could just about make out “Bentley Priory” itself which I know I will be visiting at some point in the future so will find out more about that at a later stage.

The loop brought us out into a very quiet road and we had to follow the London Loop signs from here on. It took us across to Warren Lane and onto Stanmore Common. The loop did not seem to take us into the open heaths of the common just through a very woody path. The open heaths that I had been looking forward to seeing were a result of clearance in C16th and earthworks in C17th, possibly even down a Rabbit Warren that had been documented in the area in 1667! The loop then took us across the lane and past the Stanmore Cricket club and then past some beautiful ponds. These ponds are frequented by many fishermen today, were actually created as a reservoir to serve Clutterbucks Brewery in Stanmore in C19th.

The loop the took us to Little common where the Brewery would have been. Unfortunately for us, this is where we lost the London Loop! I decided to walk towards Stanmore Hall. This great mansion was built circa 1843 in a Gothic Style. It was extended in 1885 with William Morris interiors, I would love to have looked around but unfortunately the hall is now offices so the inside is hidden from the public :-(. However the gates to the hall are very impressive to look at!

From 2012 – 15.07.2012 – Stanmore – Borehamwood Walk

It was here that our walk was a little confusing, as we had no London Loop signs to follow. Our route for the next part of the walk was much longer than planned! We decided to take the route down Dennis Lane so that we could find our way into “Stanmore Country Park”. We located an entrance into the park, which we decided to take, regardless of there not being any London Loops signs. From the history of this country park, this was park was part of the grounds of a large country house which later became a Golf Course in the early 20th Century. However, I am not sure I could not see the signs of a Golf Course in the middle of a woodland! Somehow we caught up with the London Loop in the middle of the wood 🙂

The London Loop was to take us out of the park and out to Stanmore Station and we could not find any other signs 😦 . From this point, we decided to walk the roads instead to continue our walk. When we reached the Royal Orthopedic Hospital on Brockley Hill we stopped outside to have lunch, it was here I spotted a sign on the other side of the road which said “Site of the Roman Pottery of Sullonicae c65 – 160AD “. Apparently evidence of pottery had been found here indicating that possibly there had once been a Roman Settlement in the area. Our walk then took us through familiar territory which we had walked before right up into Elstree Village. However we did not carry on into Borehamwood as we turned off to go down the Watford Road and go towards Aldenham Country Park.

We came off the main road into a lane and as we did we noticed a road called “Lands End” – after our huge walk and being not able to find the Loop, we both felt we had reached it! I know we both felt the same when we reached the Worlds End when we walked Offas Dyke… As the lane gently turned around the corner we finally found the London Loop sign! I think we were both relieved! One of them was into Aldenham Country Park, which was the route we took. It was nice to be back at the park after all this time

We strolled alongside the lake for a while to watch the boats, ducks and geese glide along the water. What a gentle life the wildlife lead here, so quiet too, I could have spent ages just staring out at the water. How that differs from the images, that what I know, that this beautiful park as one of the locations for Hammer Horror movies. It is difficult to imagine a Dracula film being made here when it is a tranquil afternoon and all you want to do it sit and watch the clouds roll by above the lake :-). We didn’t spend too much time here sadly before rejoining the London Loop again on the final stretch of our walk for the afternoon.

The loop was to take us up Elstree Hill and this was one of the muddiest trails that I have walked in a long while. It was definitely worse the one we encountered off Barnet lane. We encountered numerous footpaths en-route and in fact I felt sorry for this particular farmer as he had so many on his field that he had to ensure the public had access to! The footpath came out in Watling Street and I found the sign we saw about 2 weeks ago and it was good to see that we had picked up on a route that we said we would follow up on. Our journey from here took us to Borehamwood and to Deacons Hill, we left the London Loop behind at this point as we will pick up the trail from here another time! I will admit to you all I have invested in a Map!

The Ordnance Survey Explorer Map you will need is 173. Feel free to browse through all the photos for the day by clicking here –

2012 – 15.07.2012 – Stanmore – Borehamwood Walk

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6 responses to “Stanmore – Borehamwood Walk – 15.07.2012

  1. Well written artical, full of information for someone just passing through, well done. Just a couple of comments, Stanmore’s third church, St John’s saw the laying of the foundation stone in the presence of the Earl of Aberdeen and Queen Adelaide in 1849, with the church opening in 1850.

    The Fallow Deer were once part of the Bentley Priory estate untill 1926 when the estate was brocken up, with the RAF buying the mansion and 49 acres and Middlesex C. C. acquiring 196 acres for public open space. The deer herd was bought my a Col. Micklem for his private estate and have been in this loction eversince owing to a covenant.

    Stanmore Hall was once the home of one William Knox D’Arcy founder of the Persian Oil Company, now BP. The Hall was at onetime the marketing offices of Volvo.UK and is now divided into private flats.

    Sorry for any spelling mistakes.

    • Hi

      Thank you so much for the comment and information. I really enjoyed this walk and researching the area too. It was difficult to locate all the information I was looking for, so thank you for telling me about the Fallow Deer, as I was very curious about them.

      Also thank you for the rest of the details about Stanmore Hall as well – must be nice to have a private flat in the Hall 🙂

      Thank you for your comment and time, very appreciated !

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