Cassiobury Park – Croxley Green Walk – 11.11.2012

Struggling up a muddy hill was not really my idea of a start to Sunday morning stroll, but it did not prove to be that bad in the end. The hill was not as steep as I had originally feared either, which I was rather glad of as I had neglected to bring my walking stick out with me on this occasion! The muddy trail in question was taking us away from Cassiobury park and the Ironbridge Lock on the Grand Union Canal and the path in question was to take us to Croxley Green.

As we reached the top of the hill, the path came out of the trees and out into the open. Despite being early November, the sun was shining and in fact felt lovely warm! The stretch of grass that we could see before us was in fact part of a golf course. I have been across a few golf courses in the past and I hoped that the path was not going to prove to be very difficult. As we walked further along, the path looked more like a track which was to lead us straight across the golf course. There were no footpath markers on the course but then again the footpath was quite easy to make out! Because of the lovely sunshine the course was extremely busy so it was rather daunting to walk across to say the least, I was particularly concerned about flying golf balls I am not sure I would have heard if any golfers shouted any warnings!

From 2012 – 11.11.2012 Cassiobury Park – Croxley Green Walk

As we reached the other side of the Golf Course, I looked over my shoulder to look at the golfers and I could see that they were really enjoying both there game and the weather. The Golf Course in question is part of the “West Herts Golf Club”, which was founded in 1897 and during it’s beginning it included members such as the prime minister of England, A.J. Balfour in 1901. Bernard Darwin said of the course in 1910

“A fine day at Cassiobury comes within a measurable distance of heaven”

With the sky being so blue, the sun shining high in the sky and the trees gentle waving the winter breeze I could definitely sense a little of what the gentleman was saying. I assume from climbing the hill earlier, that the course is reasonably high and is rewarded some great views but with all the trees that now surround the course we were not able to enjoy any of these :-(. Therefore, I could not capture only a glimpse of what Mr Darwin meant about being “…within a “measurable distance of heaven” just how nice the day was on the golf course!

The footpath was soon to lead us out of the Golf Course and onto “Rousebarn Lane”. It was here that we were faced with a choice either continue our route across the fields or walk along lane. As we were a little unsure whether the footpath across the fields would lead us to Croxley Green we decided to walk along the lane and look for route which might lead us there. We reached a junction a little further up where we turned off, which we both hoped would take us to where we were going! It took us past a residential area and past some large cottages and Tudor shaped buildings. Strangely the area behind these buildings had been all fenced off, so I decided to peer through the metal fencing as I was very curious…

As I looked carefully I was just able to make out the outline of a large house through the metal railings, the winter sunshine enhanced it silhouette making it looking domineering and eerie. Did this place hold any untold secrets? The site where the buildings currently stand was originally part of King Offas Kingdom during his reign in the C8th Century! The manor house was Durrants Manor House, but the actual land and manor did not come out of the Royal possession until Elizabeth 1 sold Durrants Manor to a physician in her household. Much later during the early C20th the house and its land changed hands again when Merchant Taylors school purchased it for sports purposes. The whole site and the house is now being renovated but in its current state does look very unnerving.

From 2012 – 11.11.2012 Cassiobury Park – Croxley Green Walk

Passing on by the manor house, we caught up with some friendly dog walkers who were kind enough to ensure that we were heading in the correct direction for Croxley Green. We were now walking away from the road and along a muddy track. Either side of the lane were farmers fields, but it was quite difficult to see as the lane had a very large number of tall trees that lined it. We decided to share this part of the journey with the dog walkers, which made this part of the route very quick to walk, so it was not long before we reached “The Green” in Croxley. I will admit that it was rather nice to enjoy the open space of the green in the winter sunshine, so we thought we would take a nice saunter and as it was approaching lunchtime we would treat ourselves to a Sunday lunchtime drink.

Through the window of the inn, we could see right across “green” which seemed quiet and unassuming. However, if it had been warmer time of year, the view could have been quite different, with noise and such revelry! As summed up by John Betjeman

“Onward, onwards, north of the border, down Hertfordshire way.
The Croxley Green Revels – a tradition that stretches back to 1952.
For pageantry is deep in all our hearts
and this, for many a girl, is her greatest day”
John Betjeman at Croxley Green (“Metro-land”, BBC, 1973)

Even in some of the taverns it is said that it is traditional that during the Christmas time that St George & the Dragon is acted out, obviously we had come to the Green at a very quiet time!

Refreshed, our journey was now to take us back to Cassiobury Park. We took a very different route back, mainly via the roads. Not as picturesque as the way we had been walked to Croxley, but was certainly more direct and was faster paced. I would only recommend it if you were in a hurry 🙂 ! It was the same amount of distance walked and I did not enjoy walking back as much. Although I did spot this curious house, when nearing the park, which seemed be built entirely of wood. To me it looked like a “Swiss Cottage”, I would like to know more!

For all the mornings walk, please feel free to browse through all the photos –

2012 – 11.11.2012 Cassiobury Park – Croxley Green Walk

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