This is one of Harpenden's many green areas and lies just to the west of the Common behind the Town Hall accessed through entrance gates. The 56-acre (230,000 square meter) park was formally part of the Rothamsted estate owned by Sir John Lawes, a descendant of the Manor of Rothamsted in 1623. Sir Lawes initiated agricultural experiments in 1843, which led to the founding of the nearby Rothamsted Experimental Station. He also created the formal entrance from Leyton Road to what is now the Park and planted the avenue of Lime trees. In 1931, the family decided to sell the estate, and after a successful public appeal, the Experimental Station was able to finance its purchase of the estate in 1934. In 1938 the Harpenden Urban District Council purchased the land now known as Rothamsted park from the Experimental Station, in order to provide playing fields and to preserve an important open space.
Harpenden Common is the largest expanse of greenery in the town and lies to the south of the High Street. It's where the old village first grew up during the 13th century and where the common folk could roam about freely with their farm animals. Today, it retains its village feel and you wouldn't know that you're in a town of 30,000 as you walk around it. There are a few trails which you can follow and varying lengths that are marked plus a map at the northern-most point near the Silver Cup Pub.
Southdown Ponds, located on the eastern side of the Common, were created in 1928 to take water run-off from nearby roads at times of heavy rain. They were originally gravel pits dug out in the 1870s. Before the ponds were dug, rainwater gathered in Cock Pond which was located where the common and the High Street meet, opposite the Old Cock Inn. This was a popular drinking hole for horses, sheep and cows and was always home to ducks and geese before being filled in. The ponds are the 'new' home to ducks and geese where there are boards outlining what species you can see.
This park was part of the garden of Harpenden Lodge, built in 1803 and the home for many years of the Lydekker family. It was taken over by the town council in 1998 and the ponds renovated following contamination. Boards detailing the parks wildlife can be found at the entrances.
The first church dedicated to St Nicholas was probably built in the 12th century but all that remains of this are a few fragments of stone capitals found on various windowsills. This building, with the exception of the tower, was demolished in 1860 and rebuilt partly in the 14th century style. The octagonal font dates from the 12th century and came from another church in Wheathampstead in the 14th century. The tower is said to date from around 1470 while the clock is slightly later. There are information boards detailing the history of the church just beside the main entrance.
Harpenden has some lovely cottages along both sides of the Common and running up the High Street. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Now an estate agents, this building was the town's tollgate where tolls were collected for goods, services and livestock entering the town in the old days.
This Roman Catholic church is located very close to the parish church of St Nicholas. It was built in 1929.