Abbots Langley Gardening Society

Leavesden Country Park

Martin Brooks

October 20th 2011


Our meeting was really well attended for the talk on Leavesden Country Park by Martin Brooks who was the Park Ranger there until earlier this year. A Park Ranger in Abbots Langley I hear you cry!!….who would have thought !!! but with over 110 acres to look after what else should we have? Martin has done many talks and displays around the area but as we are a gardening club he included horticultural items of interest about the park, Having heard his history presentation I was pleased to find that this included lots of, as he calls them, “Green” pictures and details about the Park.


The Park is split pretty much equally to the north and south of College Road and is now a wonderful and much safer place to be. We have on our doorstep the largest Monkey Puzzle Tree in Hertfordshire, 2 Conifers which are over 250 years old and the tree next to the Swan Pub is well over 100 years old.


On the North side was The Leavesden Asylum, of which only two of the original buildings remain. It was opened in 1870 and eventually housed 2400 people made up of 1900 patients and 500 hundred staff of all types. They had to allot 42 acres just to grow enough fruit and vegetables and rear farm animals to feed such a large number of people. I wonder how many gardeners there were, though some of the patients were employed to help. They were even able to grow lemons, and details in the extensive records show that in 1898, 9lbs of sugar was purchased to use them to make lemonade for everyone as a Christmas treat.


To the South side was the St Pancras Orphanage and the Canadian Hospital, both gone now.


We are all very fortunate to have such a wonderful area in the Village but I wonder how many of us know what the local council has made available to us with the help of local people and schools too. Apart from two childrens play areas, three football pitches, an adult outdoor gym and a BMX track, there are 249 meters of walking paths and over 20 acres of woodland area. So there is no reason why we can’t all take some time to ourselves and enjoy what we have on our doorstep. With the wonderful weather we have been having you could even take a picnic.





Pam Cotton