BEAN HERE AT HUNTON BRIDGE
Probably one of our favourite coffee houses, Bean Here at Hunton Bridge is always a popular venue for Nordic Walking Watford.
Located just off the Hunton Bridge roundabout, Bean Here coffee shop provides a great place to get away and enjoy our coffees and teas plus freshly baked sourdough bread, cakes, pastries and panini. It’s the perfect place for you to relax.
Hunton Bridge is a small settlement near Abbots Langley, with a historic royal connection. It enjoyed its greatest prosperity during 1810-26 when the Sparrows Herne turnpike ran through the village. Prior to that date, the turnpike had run along Gypsy Lane and Upper Highway. In 1810 it was rerouted along Old Mill Lane to the village, and up the hill to reconnect with Upper Highway. By 1826 the presence of the canal and the works associated with it had dried out the bottom land sufficiently for the turnpike to be rerouted along what is now the A41 avoiding the climb up Hunton Bridge Hill.
Hunton Bridge currently has two public houses.
The Kings Head – a 300-year-old grade II listed building that has now been refurbished as a restaurant and bar. In the years when the turnpike ran through Hunton Bridge it served as a coaching inn
The Kings Lodge, which was built in 1642 as a hunting lodge for King Charles I
Hunton Canal Bridge was demolished in 1932 and replaced with an ornate reinforced concrete skew arch. The structure includes an ornate cornice to the parapet and balustrades. The existing western edge beam was demolished in 1983 due to a vehicular impact with a new aluminium parapet. The structure was Grade II listed in 1985.
Hunton Park House was built in 1909 by Hubbard and Moore for Rev. H.S. Gladstone in brown brick and in Queen Anne Style. It replaced Hazelwood, built-in 1810 which had been burnt down. Hazelwood was built by Henry Botham as a country residence and this included a large park. In 1850 it was owned by Sir Henry Robinson Montagu, followed by others and then in the early 20th, Henry Stewart Gladstone. In 1930, the house was sold to Francis Edwin Fisher, and among the short-term occupants was Emperor Haile Selassie until it was bought by the owner of De Vere hotels.
Hunton Bridge Mill on the River Gade from at least the late 18th, apparently milling corn. It may however have been a ‘Kings Mill’ in the 16th. In the late 19th it was owned by Littleboy and Proctor and had eight stones but declining power from the Gade. There is a cut between it and the Grand Union Canal and which reaches as far as Old Mill Lane.
Set on 300 acres, The Grove is more than a five-star hotel. The former home of the Earls of Clarendon and weekend retreat of Queen Victoria has been lovingly restored and is now home to a championship golf course, a stunning range of bedrooms and suites, and extensive formal gardens.
In the early 20th century, death duties, a form of taxation introduced in 1894 by the Liberal Government, was placing an increasing financial burden on landed gentry and was responsible for the breaking up of many large estates across Britain. In the 1920s, in order to reduce their tax liabilities, the Villiers family decided to sell The Grove. Also at around this time, nearby Cassiobury House was sold off by the widow of George Capell, 7th Earl of Essex in 1922 due to prohibitive death duties.
After the sale, The Grove was then used as a gardening school, a health centre (National Institute of Nutrition and College of Dietetics), a riding school, and a girls’ boarding school. It was the wartime headquarters of one of the Big Four consolidated railway companies. It became a management training centre for the British Transport Commission and later British Rail.
In 1996, the estate was acquired by Ralph Trustees Ltd, at which time the mansion was extended and converted into a hotel. Jeremy Blake, an architect with listed buildings and sustainability expertise, was appointed to undertake these works. The Grove is a former AA Hotel of the Year and was voted the UK’s Favourite Leisure Hotel by Condé Nast Traveler readers in 2008. The formal gardens were designed by the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist and judge, Michael Balston.
Our walking routes from this venue include the Grand Union canal towpath, footpaths around The Grove Hotel, nearby Whippendell Woods and the open fields around Langleybury.
Why not join us this week?
MARVELOUS MONDAY – 3RD MAY AT 10AM