A personal look at Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire, in old postcards and photographs by the author.
Available from: http://www.blurb.co.uk/books/6868364-cassiobury-park
In 1909, 184 acres (0.74 km2) of parkland were sold by the 8th Earl of Essex, most to Watford Borough Council for housing and the public park. More land for the park was purchased in 1930.
Much of the park is covered by mown grass and scattered trees. There are notable specimens of American oaks such as the Pin Oak Quercus palustris Muenchh and the Scarlet Oak Q. coccinea Muenchh. The Cedar of Lebanon Cedrus libani A. Richard is a prominent feature.
The park slopes generally downhill from east to west to the valley of the River Gade with the Grand Union Canal beyond.
Watercress was once commercially grown and the beds and ditches remain with the original springs still flowing.
Beyond the river and canal the ground rises quite steeply to the West Herts Golf Course, beyond which lies Whippendell Wood. The whole area is freely accessible and surprisingly unspoilt, given its proximity to London, about 20 miles away.
There are tennis courts, bowling green and a miniature railway running diesel and steam locomotives.
Not to mention the abundant wildlife that flourishes in this area.
The park is currently (2016) undergoing restoration with the Victorian bandstand being relocated to its original place in the park after a sojourn next to the town library, a replacement water fountain in the same style as the original next to a rejuvenated ChaCafe, but with a new 'hub' building further down the park that will stand facing the refurbished paddling pools and splash area.
Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the site of the Swiss Cottage and further work has uncovered the remains of the water mill that stood next to the River Gade and which can now be viewed from the rustic bridge or from the adjacent waterfall.