Introducing our new feature VENUE OF THE WEEK!
Each week, I will be shining the spotlight on one of our regular walk venues and sharing some interesting facts and information for you.
This week, we kick off with the home of Nordic Walking Watford, LEAVESDEN COUNTRY PARK.
The rejuvenated Leavesden Country Park, near Abbots Langley, provides a home for:
- The Leavesden HIVE and The Garden
- A stunning “MINDS, MOVIES and MACHINES” Heritage Trail of nine significant pieces of art
- A Park Ranger,
- The Leavesden Hospital History Association,
- Exciting play area
- Woodland and fairy walks
- Cycle Hub
- Woodlands Café
The south side of the park comprises about 50 acres of typical English parkland along with a variety of apple trees, a pergola, and the largest Monkey Puzzle tree in Hertfordshire.
The Country Park itself was home to the ‘Leavesden Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles’ built-in 1867 which was one of the first such institutions for London in Victorian time and a unique facility. It was 90% self-sufficient for 2,085 patients, 639 orphans, and staff with school, nursing college, gas works, sewage treatment system, and 42-acre farm and livestock. The Asylum provided work for hundreds of local people and played a significant part in mental health treatment and attitude in Victorian times. Some of their buildings remain intact such as the church and the graveyard with its beautiful gate. Within this site, the St Pancras Orphanage/Workhouse and the Canadian/Abbots Langley General Hospital were also built.
From a Nordic Walking point of view, the park has the perfect terrain for teaching our technique courses and everything we look for in a walking venue with plenty of parking, numerous pathways and woodland walks, as well as longer routes over surrounding farm fields – and of course, post-walk refreshments from the delightful and welcoming Woodlands Cafe.
Why not join our LEAVESDEN COUNTRY PARK walks this week?