Towns and Villages

There are a variety of small towns and villages located within the Three Rivers District offering the choice between rural and urban communities.

Abbots Langley

st-lawrence-chruch-abbots.jpgThis is the most northerly of the District's five parishes and extends from Watford to Dacorum Borough. It is one of the oldest in the country, formed in 1894. The parish comprises several hamlets together with the large village of Abbots Langley and the smaller communities of Bedmond and Langleybury. The centre of Abbots Langley is built around the parish church of St Lawrence The Martyr, in which there is a memorial to Pope Adrian IV, who in 1154 became the only Englishman ever to be elected to that office. He was born in Bedmond Village, being christened Nicholas Breakespeare.

More information: Location Map     Abbots Langley Local History Society     Abbots Langley Parish Council

Carpenders Park

Located in the parish of Watford Rural, this extensive residential area had developed alongside the main Watford to Euston railway line and is an area of mainly post-war housing. There are substantial areas of open space and woodland immediately adjacent in the Green Belt, together with some small local parks. The author Leslie Thomas lived in this area for a period and the locality is referred to in his book "Tropic of Ruislip".

More Information: Location Map


chorleywood_commonroad.jpgThe parish of Chorleywood is two miles north-west of Rickmansworth and lies just inside the Hertfordshire county boundary. It has easy access to the M25 via junction 18. The village, which boasts its own London Transport and main line rail station, forms part of "metroland" - the residential development undertaken alongside and around the London Metropolitan railway system. One local landmark is Chorleywood House, the grounds of which are public open space. The 200 acre Chorleywood Common provides a superb recreational area and includes a nine-hole golf course and riding track.

More Information: Location Map     Chorleywood Parish Council

Croxley Green

All Saints Church.jpgThe small parish of Croxley Green is principally a residential area. In 1588, a famous son of the area, John Caius, presented the former Manor of Croxley as an endowment to the College of Gonville and Caius, Cambridge University.  John Dickinson devised and patented paper making machinery and in 1830 opened Croxley Mill on Common Moor beside the Grand Union Canal. He formed John Dickinson and Co Ltd in 1887 and had fifty cottages built to house its workers at Dickinson Square. This is now a designated Conservation Area. The Mill closed in 1980 but the Croxley watermark is still used in writing paper.

While John Dickinson was pioneering new technology in paper making, at Croxley Hall Farm William Sanson was bringing new scientific methods to watercress growing. The farm includes the large 15th century tithe barn known as "Wolsey's slaughterhouse" from its supposed role in supplying the Cardinal's gargantuan feasts at nearby Moor Park. Built between 1396 and 1401, the barn is one of the largest in Hertfordshire and is open to the public by prior arrangement with Hertfordshire County Council.

By 1922 the Cherry Fair, held on Croxley Green on the Sunday when the cherry crop was being picked, had ceased. The village's annual celebration of mid-summer, the Revels on the Green, takes place in June every year.

More Information: Location Map     Croxley Green Parish Council


jsu_aerial.jpgPrimarily a residential area, Eastbury lies largely to the east of the Metropolitan Line and extends to the west as far as Kewferry Road on the south side of Batchworth Lane. Behind the fence in Sandy Lane is the "Joint HQ" where some 2,500 people work to defend Britain and Europe. Set on the side of a hill overlooking Moor Park, the base is like a self-contained village, with its own shop, police station, housing, hairdresser, dentist, doctor, theatre, club sports centre and church. The former naval establishment "HMS Warrior", now known as "HMS Wildfire", represents the new approach of the three armed services working more closely together.

The former Eastbury Park became the home of RAF Coastal Command during World War II and remained so until 1969. Since then the complex of buildings and military installations has grown and developed until today the base is home to five of the country's defence organisations. The Joint Support Unit looks after the general administration of the site as well as:

  • "The Commander in Chief Fleet", who looks after the Royal Navy's operational units around the globe.
  • Flag Officer Submarines who looks after the submarine flotilla.
  • 11/18 Group Royal Air Force which is responsible for maritime operations, including Nimrod patrol aircraft, based in Kinloss, Scotland, other reconnaissance aircraft, six Search and Rescue helicopter teams and six mountain rescue teams.
  • The Permanent Joint Headquarters is responsible for the planning of UK-led military operations.

It is usual to see military personnel from many of the NATO member countries within the base. Officers from Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the USA work together here in Three Rivers.

At the centre of the base is the Command Centre, which is the operational hub of Britain's armed forces operations.

Meanwhile, the entire perimeter fence is secured by rifle bearing Royal Marines as well as Ministry of Defence staff.

Operations in the Falklands, the Gulf and Kosovo were all master-minded from the base.

More Information: Location Map


crowthorne_cottage.jpgHeronsgate was the first estate developed by Chartists in 1845 and was initially named O'Connorville after their leader, Feargus O'Connor. 35 cottages and a school were built. Town-dwellers from the north of England were re-settled initially at subsidised rents and the street names, Stockport Road, Nottingham Road, Halifax Road and Bradford Road reflect their origins. The ban on alcohol which was imposed at that time gave rise to the nearby public house being named "The Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty".

More Information: Location Map


leavesden_arial.jpgLeavesden Aerodrome was an important centre of aircraft production during the World War II.  The former Rolls-Royce factory site is now the site of Leavesden film studios, where the Harry Potter series of films were made. James Bond blockbuster "Goldeneye" and the Star Wars epic "Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace" were also filmed here, as was "Sleepy Hollow" and "Onegin" which saw old St Petersburg recreated on the backlot.

More Information: Location Map

Moor Park

moorparkmansion.jpgThe land upon which the Moor Park Estate stands was historically part of the grounds attached to the Moor Park Mansion. Lord Leverhulme, who purchased the Mansion and estates in 1919, started the development of 288 acres in 1922 and the development spread south and west from Sandy Lodge Hall (now Moor Park Station) until the outbreak of war in 1939.

Once the wartime restrictions on building materials were removed in 1954, development continued. Moor Park is designated a Conservation Area.

More Information: Location Map


Rickmansworth is the largest town within the District. With a charter dating from 1542, Rickmansworth is now the centre of administration for the District Council.

batchworthlock.jpgLocated at the junction of the River Colne and its tributaries the Chess and the Gade, Rickmansworth once lay immediately north of several large water meadows. The coming of the Grand Junction (later the Grand Union) canal in the 1790's enhanced the area's industrial potential, allowing coal to be brought in and other goods exported. As the Metropolitan Railway guide noted in 1889 "Rickmansworth, in addition to other industries, makes paper, brews beer and tans leather". The area around Rickmansworth was once famous for its extensive watercress beds. The salad plant flourished in the River Chess, a clean, swiftly flowing stream with good gravel beds.

All these water based industries, not just the cress, were spread throughout the neighbourhood. There were at one stage five paper mills in the area. In its time Rickmansworth was a canal and boat-building centre of some note.

In the 1890's the Metropolitan railway was trying to attract both visitors and new residents. Visitors duly came and were soon catered for by tea rooms, and guest houses. By 1920 the Victoria Hotel (now the "Long Island"), could boast electric light, a ballroom for 300 and a spacious garage.

The first railway to reach Rickmansworth was the L&NWR, whose terminus on the southern side of the town opened in 1862. The company also opened another line to Croxley Green in 1912 which still operates, although the earlier one closed in 1952.

churchstreet.jpgThe heart of Rickmansworth town had already been pulled northwards from the river by its main road, the High Street. This was part of the Watford to Uxbridge Road, and helped create a flourishing local market centre. Rickmansworth's 16th century market house, which stood in the middle of the road, was replaced in 1805 by one sited almost opposite, but out of the traffic's way. By 1868 it was unused and therefore demolished, and the Town Hall built on the site. This in turn became the town's first cinema, the "Electric Picture Playhouse", in 1911.  The Talbot Road and Norfolk Road area of the town, near the L&NWR station, was developed with cottages from the 1860's, and within a few years Ebury Road would spring up behind the south-western stretch of the High Street, which itself had expanded slightly westwards.

The central part of the High Street remained largely unchanged. In the 1960's a new road called Northway was driven through in a large loop from the top of Church Street to Station road. Within a decade the area had become a Conservation Area, with the fine St Mary's Church and its 17th century tower a focal point.

lion and eagle.jpgIn the Rose Gardens facing the Council offices, Three Rivers House, you can find the "Lion and Eagle" statue which was erected in 1921 as Rickmansworth's war memorial. The statue was cast in bronze and erected on the corner of Ebury Road and Uxbridge Road. It was moved several times over the next seventy years until 1991, when it was placed in its present position.

Other buildings of interest include Basing House, where William Penn, the famous Quaker statesman and founder of the US state of Pennsylvania, lived with his wife Gulielma, for five years after their marriage in 1672 at the nearby King John's farmhouse in Chorleywood Bottom. "The Elms" in the High Street which now forms part of the St Joan of Arc School, was a summer residence for the Victorian novelist George Eliot, real name Mary Ann Evans.

More Information: Location Map


holycrosschurch.jpgSarratt Parish is the largest within Three Rivers. It is rural with well cultivated farmland, interrupted only by the odd copse and woodland area. Within the village of Sarratt is the ancient and attractive Church of The Holy Cross. The village green is often used by film crews as a period setting. The nearby mansion "Goldingtons" was used in the film "Four Weddings and a Funeral".

More Information: Location Map    Sarratt Parish Council

South Oxhey

1511.jpgThe South Oxhey community comprises the housing development built by the London County Council in the late 1940's and early 1950's and then passed to the Greater London Council in 1965. The 4,000 dwellings, 500 garages and over 100 shops were taken over by Three Rivers District Council in 1980. The area is well served by schools, shops and facilities including The Centre and Sir James Altham Swimming Pool.

One place of special interest is the small chapel built in 1612 by Sir James Altham, Judge and Baron of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I. Originally, this was a private chapel to the large residence, Oxhey Place, and it still retains the original door and roof beams. The chapel is open to the public by arrangement with the vicar of the nearby All Saints Church.

More Information: Location Map