1. Berkhamsted Station is a good starting point, encouraging day visitors to use public transport. Berkhamsted can provide a good day out, what ever the season or weather. If inclement, it is still possible to view many of the town's historic and architecturally interesting buildings and even walk along the canal's newly restructured towing path without the need of more than stout shoes. There are plenty of nearby restaurants or pubs to dive into for morning coffee, a full lunch, or after-noon tea.
On a summer's day, with the long evenings, it is possible to 'do' the town and walk (at a good pace) over to Ashridge, returning for an evening meal before going home. Ideally, you will take a couple of days to do all this more leisurely. If one takes in the Hockeridge woods and the country lanes around Champneys and Rossway on the opposite hillside, then you will need at least three days to gain 'a feel for Berkhamsted'.
It was awarded a blue plaque by the Berkhamsted Citizen's Association for the recent sensitive restoration to what is a fine Victorian building. Its passenger underpass, unfortunately, continues to challenge even modern methods to overcome the seeping damp. [cf. Graham Greene Trail leaflet].
2. Berkhamsted Castle (to the right of the photographer in the picture above, from which same position the picture below was taken) lost its main gatehouse and outer two moats to the railway, whose engineers recognissed the value of this ancient fortification, the swampy ground testing their engineering skills [Scott Hastie].
Historic Berkhamsted on the Town Council's site provides a drawing of how the castle might have looked when first built. Archaeological evidence provides for a Saxon homestead, as being the meeting place at Berkhamsted for the handing over of the English crown to William the Conqueror, after the battle of Hastings in 1066—the Saxon rulers meeting him here from London. It was the Norman's who built the stone castle, believed to be William's half-brother Robert, the Count of Mortaigne. He originally built of earth mounds and palisades, It was only later that walls of flint were built with corner stones quarried from Totternhoe (near Dunstable).
3. The Grand Junction Canal, now called the Grand union Canal. There is a separate Canal Trail which describes the journey from Bank Mill, the site of a working mill for almost one thousand years to Billet Lane, which leads, via a footpath to Berkhamsted Common and the Ashridge estate.
5. The Totem Pole. Refer to 'Canal History 3'.
6. The Boote, 1605. Refer to 'Canal History 3'.
7. The Gardener's Arms. John Cook (a former Town Mayor whose home it is) describes it as "One of a pair of mid-term nineteenth century houses originally built as ale houses but first used as shops. Henry Nash, a local historian and benefactor lived here. Nash had a strong interest in education and helped establish Berkhamsted School for Girls (see 24) as well as Berkhamsted Mechanics' Institute, early meetings of which were held in this house. Between Chapel Street and the High Street is an attractive row of old cottages, many of which are 'listed'. These are on the right of the picture below which looks down Castle Street from St. Peter's church. The white building standing out clearly in the middle distance is 'The Gardener's Arms'. The second picture below shows the ancient yew and a better view of 'listed' cottages.
|Part II—Nos. 8–13.|
The photographs on this site are copyright Peter Such 2004.