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Cassiobury Park

Open all year

Flagship park in the centre of Watford. 2 routes and 26 points of interest

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building

Bandstand

Bandstand

Watford's Bandstand is back in the park where it was built over 100 years ago.

  • Between May and September there will be a band on the bandstand every Sunday (see the events section for details).
  • At other times the bandstand is available to book for your community group, band, choir, charity, social group or club.
  • It's free to book and includes use of the electrical supply. You will need to bring your own furniture.
  • We'll even add your event / gig to the listings.
  • email cassiobury@watford.gov.uk to book your place

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playarea

Bouncy Castle

Interactive Activity

The bouncy castle is available throughout the summer

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fitness

Bowls

Bowling Green

Watford Bowls Club is based here in Cassiobury Park. They have regular events where you can come and try either lawn bowls (summer) or indoor short mat bowling (winter).

For more information please contact Keith Brain at kevonne.brain@ntlworld.com or call 01923 256192.

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fooddrink

Cha Café

Food & Drink

The Cha Café is located close to the bandstand

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formal

Community Garden

Plant Bed

Part of the community garden area was reseeded with a special wildflower mix in 2015.

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fitness

Cricket

Sports Pitch

A cricket pitch is marked out in summer and is used regularly by local clubs.

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fitness

Croquet

Sports Pitch

Prospective members can try the game for free before deciding whether to join the Watford (Cassiobury) Croquet Club.

For more details contact Janet Lewis at secretary@watfordcroquet.org.uk.

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fooddrink

Daisy's in the Park

Food & Drink

Located in the Hub building, Daisy's in the park cafe  has lots of tasty treats

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fish

Fishing

Fishing

Watford Piscators fishing club own the fishing rights to the bank of the Gade nearest the canal and both banks of the Grand Union Canal. You can buy a day fishing ticket from them (in the fishing season).

If you're aged 12 or older you must have a national rod license to fish elsewhere in the park. You cannot fish anywhere between 15 March and mid 15 June. (Children can still fish with nets in the river at any time.)

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fitness

Football Pitches

Sports Pitch

Four pitches (booked every Sunday by two local football leagues, but available at other times on a casual basis, between September and April).

To book, call 020 3567 6900 or email enquiries.watford@veolia.co.uk. Use of changing/shower block is included in the cost.

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fitness

Friends of Cassiobury Park

Sports Pitch

The Friends of Cassiobury Park group is very active and helps the council to improve and maintain the park, carrying out a considerable amount of voluntary work throughout the park. If you are interested in joining, please send them a message.

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carpark

Gade Avenue Car Park

Car Park

There are 88 spaces in the car park (including six disabled access spaces) but it can fill up early especially on hot summer days. There is limited parking on nearby streets.

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fitness

Health Walk Start Point

Health Walk Start Point

Every Wednesday at 10.30am. Meet at The Cha Cafe by tennis courts, nr Shepherds Road, WD18 7HY.

Walks are about an 1hr long and cover around 3 miles

For more information please visit the health walks website at;

https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/east-england/watford-and-three-rivers-health-walks

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attractions

History of Cassiobury Park

Site of historical interest

The Manor of Cassio is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, listed as owned by the Abbey of St Albans. It covered an area much bigger than the current park including the golf course, Whippendale Woods and the Cassiobury housing estate.

In 1533, Henry VIII confiscated the Abbey's lands (as part of the 'dissolution of the monasteries') and sold it to Richard Morrison in 1546. It was then that the grand house started to be built although Richard died before it was finished and his son Charles oversaw the completion.The house was passed down the male line until 1628, when Elizabeth Morrison married Arthur, Lord Capel of Hadham.

In 1661, Elizabeth and Arthur's son, Arthur, was made Viscount Malden and Earl of Essex.  He employed the gardener Moses Cooke to set out formal gardens, "strictly in the French style" during periods between 1669 and 1680. The earl also commissioned extensive remodelling of the house in the early 1700s.

Despite the first earl's execution for actively supporting the royalist cause in 1649 (toward the end of the civil war) and the second earls arrest for his part in a plot to assassinate Charles II (he died in the tower of London under 'mysterious circumstances in 1683) the estate remained in the ownership of the Capel family and the seat of the Earls of Essex until it was sold in 1922.

When the 6th earl died in 1892, it was clear that despite (or because of) his enthusiasm for new farming projects around the estate no significant maintenance had been carried out on the house in the previous fifty years, consequently many of the family paintings and other valuables were sold to provide funds for restoration.

By 1900, the house had ceased to be used as a permanent residence, and in 1908 parts of the estate were sold off. The Council bought some land at this point and then added more land over the next decades to create the current park. The house was demolished in 1927 and sold off in pieces as building materials. The final purchase was the Whippendell Wood area in 1935. The paddling pools were also built in the 1930s.

In the second half of the 20th century, funding for parks in Watford decreased as part of a general trend across the UK. The resulting decline in management meant that a number of historic features were lost, and the character of the landscape began to change.
In 1796 the 4th Earl of Essex was praised for his ‘public spiritedness’ for allowing the construction of the Grand Union Canal through the park.  As well as the temporary disruption caused by the building the canal would have had a major impact the park as it was a major trade route in those days (like the M25) not just a quiet leisure route like it is today.

The historic importance of Cassiobury Park was recognised in January 1999 when it was entered at Grade II in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest
It is also recognised for its ecological value, with the area between the River Gade and the Grand Junction Canal designated a Local nature Reserve in 2003 (Whippendell Woods was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1954). Cassiobury Park (including the Cassiobury Park Local Nature Reserve) has been awarded a Green Flag Award for sustainably managed open spaces each year since 2007.

In July 2014, the park received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery of £4.5 million (alongside WBC match funding of £2 million) to build a new visitors centre, renovate the pools, modernise the facilities of the Cha Cha Cha, create a new entrance space from Rickmansworth Road and reintroduce and restore the historic bandstand. The money also pays for two new staff to run lots of events and activities. The works completion is estimated at the end of summer 2016 but funding for the staff continues.

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playarea

Miniature Railway

Interactive Activity

Take a tour around the park on the miniature railway (open weekends and school holidays if the weather is fair)

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nature

Nature Reserve

Wildlife

The area next to the river Gade has been designated as an LNR due to its value as a home for wildlife.

The area is maintained by volunteers from the Friends of Cassiobury Park, the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and TCV Green Gym.

If you would like to volunteer in Cassiobury Park please contact us on 01923 278590 or cassiobury@watford.gov.uk 

As well as joining the Friends of Cassiobury Park you can also volunteer to help with:

  • The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) Green Gym
  • The Cassiobury Park education service
  • Cassiobury Park events
  • Conservation with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
  • Conservation with Friends of Cassiobury Park
  • Visitor surveys

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fitness

Outdoor gym

Fitness Equipment

A set of outdoor fitness equipment including;-

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fitness

Outdoor gym

Fitness Equipment

Outdoor fitness equipment including;-

 

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splas

Paddling Pools

Paddling pool

  • Enjoy the THRILLING water splash fountains
  • Experience a water play park with 30 state-of-the-art splash pads, water jets and fountains
  • Discover our two new paddling pools
  • Flat surfaces so that children of all abilities can enjoy a paddle
  • Raised “push buttons” for children of all abilities to control the water flow
  • Changing facilities are provided in the hub.

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playarea

Playground

Playground

A variety of exciting play equipment which was fully refurbished in 2017. 

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nature

Species

Wildlife

The park is home to a wide variety of trees, plants, fungi, birds and mammals...how many can you spot?!

Trees

  • Oak
  • Cedar of Lebanon
  • Sweet Chestnut
  • Cherry
  • Lime
  • Silver Birch
  • Scotts Pine
  • Beech
  • Leyland Cyprus
  • Sycamore
  • Field Mapel
  • Hawthorn
  • Blackthorn
  • Hazel
  • Ash
  • Rowan
  • Wild 'spitter' apples

Other plants

  • Daffodil
  • Tulip
  • Azalias
  • Bluebells
  • Dogs Mercury
  • Celandine
  • Ragged Robin
  • Crane's-bill
  • Clover
  • Bramble
  • Ivy
  • Nettles
  • Bracken
  • Coralroot Bittercress
  • Himalayan Balsam
  • Wild Strawberry
  • Wild Raspberry
  • Watercress
  • Flag Iris
  • Dogwood
  • Musk Mallow
  • Lesser Periwinkle
  • Grass Vetchling
  • Twayblade
  • Violet Helliborine
  • Buttercups
  • Violets
  • Vetches
  • Speedwells

Please do not pick the flowers.

Fungi

  • Shaggy Ink Cap
  • Blewit
  • Scarlet Fly Cap
  • Boletus Edulis (Cep)
  • Stinking Parasaole
  • King Alfred's Cakes
  • Bracket Fungus

Birds

  • Jay
  • Parakete
  • Buzzard
  • Bullfinch
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  • Mallard
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Herron
  • Kingfisher
  • Little Egret
  • Nuthatch
  • Crow
  • Blue Tit
  • Long Tailed Tit
  • Goldfinch
  • Thrush
  • Black Headed Gull
  •  

Mammals

  • Pipistrelle Bat
  • Long Eared Bat
  • Daubenton’s Bat
  • Muntjack
  • Grey Squirrel
  • Fox
  • Field Mouse
  • Mole
  • Badger
  • Rat
  • Water Vole
  • Vole
  • Shrew

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fitness

Tennis Courts

Sports Court

Hard courts (all year), grass courts (in summer). All tennis courts are free of charge. The Grosvenor Lawn Tennis Club uses three of the grass courts throughout the summer.

For more information on the club, call Ann McKeever on 01923 351627 or email ann.mckeever@ntlworld.com.

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building

The Hub

Building

Built in 2017, the Hub is home to Daisy's in the park cafe, toilets, changing facilities for the paddling pools and sports pitches as well as providing community space, a classroom and the parks team's office.

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fitness

West Herts Golf Club

Sports Pitch

Home of West Herts Golf Club.  For more information, see their website here

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nature

Whippendell Wood

Woodland

About half of Cassiobury Park is wooded and is known as Whippendell Woods.

The Whippendell Woods is a SSSI due to the fact it has never been continuously wooded for hundreds of years and contains rare species of plants and fungi.

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nature

Wildflower Meadow

Meadow

Several areas of Cassiobury Park are left to grow as meadows during the summer and part of the community garden area was reseeded with a special wildflower mix in 2015.

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Park Information

Watford's best loved park and one of Britain's favourite parks has been subject to a major £6.5million restoration, with £4.5million secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery with £2million match funding from Watford Borough Council.

The fantastic new paddling pools with thrilling water splash fountains are open 10am - 7pm daily all summer, and located next to the brand new Cassiobury Park Hub.

There is also a large playground, miniature railway and two outdoor fitness areas, as well as a wide range of events throughout the year. 

Watford's bandstand is back in the park where it was built over 100 years ago.

If you are after sporting activities, the park provides facilities for football, cricket, tennis, bowls, croquet, fishing and horse riding. Aside from the official marked-out pitches, there is plenty of open space for a kick-about or a game of rounders!

Don't forget to stop for something to eat or drink in the popular Cha Café or Daisy's in the Park.

Cassiobury Park has a large number of mature and veteran trees, including a Cedar of Lebanon, which is over 100 years old, and several veteran Oaks.

We hope you enjoy exploring!

Whippendell Wood is a SSSI due to the fact it has never been continuously wooded for hundreds of years and contains rare species of plants and fungi.

Cassiobury became a public park in 1909. Before that it was part of the lands of Cassiobury House, home of the Earls of Essex for over 300 years.  The original lands of Cassiobury House were recorded in an 1837 book by John Britton as 'stretching to 693 acres including the parkland, the wood walks, lawns and gardens immediately around the house'.  Today the park comprises 190 acres of those lands including modern day Whippendell Wood.

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On Site Facilities

  • Car Park (Free)Car Park (Free) icon
  • Disabled AccessDisabled Access icon
  • Disabled ToiletsDisabled Toilets icon
  • Dog Free AreaDog Free Area icon
  • Dogs WelcomeDogs Welcome icon
  • Food & DrinkFood & Drink icon
  • Pushchair Friendly PathsPushchair Friendly Paths icon
  • Sheltered SeatingSheltered Seating icon
  • Splash ParkSplash Park icon
  • ToiletsToilets icon

Park Routes

Long Trail

Distance 6.1 km
Steps taken 7968

View Route

Short trail

Distance 3.2 km
Steps taken 4176

View Route


How to get here

Parking:

6 hours free parking in Gade Avenue car park when you display a ticket from the machine at the entrance.  Directions here

There are 88 spaces in the car park (including six disabled access spaces) but it can fill up early especially on hot summer days. There is limited parking on nearby streets.


Public Transport Information:

By Tube
Cassiobury Park is a 2 minute walk from Watford Station on the Metroplitan Line.

By Train
Watford Junction (1.3 miles) and Watford High Street (2.1 miles) are the two closest overground stations.

By Bus
The 352 and W30 services stop outside Watford Metropolitan line station which is a two minute walk from the park. Alternatively many more services stop in Watford town centre.

Further information on public transport is available here: www.intalink.org.uk and www.nationalrail.co.uk 


Cycling:

There are designated segregated cycle paths in Cassiobury Park.

To protect the vulnerable (SSSI) environment of the Whippendell Wood please only use the perimeter path.

There is actually a bylaw prohibiting cycling in the rest of the woods due to the impact of wheels and jump construction on the rare plants and fungi.


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