Site of historical interest
In September 1935, the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, published a circular entitled ‘Air Raid Precautions’. Some towns responded by arranging the building of public air raid shelters. The shelters were built of 14 inch brick walls with re-enforced concrete roofs.
These communal shelters were intended to accommodate about 50 people from families in the surrounding estates. The shelters were divided into various sections by internal walls and each section was normally furnished with six bunks.
Our air raid shelter is belived to be a wardens post and measures 5.9m x 10.8 m and is brick built with a 114.3mm thick concrete roof and single doorway.
It is listed on the Hertfordshire Historic Environment Record 12692. This listing has no restrictions on future use.
From 1973 until 2003 the shelter was leased to the Potters Bar Homing Pigeon Society, however, their use of the building declined over that period and remained unused since then.
The cycleway was created along the main footpath in the park (starting at the Cedar of Lebanon tree and finishing at the Byng Drive entrance). This path is a useful link between eastern Potters Bar and the facilities/services on Darkes Lane, including the railway station, as well as to Ladbrooke Primary School on the edge of the park
The cycleway replaced the failing existing footpath and is constructed in tarmac to a width of 3 metres. It was constructed in two phases - phase 1 completed in March 2008 and phase 2 in March 2012. Local Potters Bar Councillors dedicated the Cycleway in honour of the Queens Diamond Jubilee in summer 2012.
Site of historical interest
Parkfield House was originally Georgian built with Victorian additions. A black and white photograph of the house shows a clock tower and stableyard archway. From discussions with the Potters Bar Historical Society, it is thought the location of the house was under the southern Parkside flats and it is likely to have faced on to the High Street.
When the house was pulled down it was noted that the original Georgian house with some Adam fireplaces was only one room thick with a corridor and small hall. The kitchen was north of the main building and was pulled down and a new building erected including a kitchen. The stable arch was original and very fine, being at least three feet thick.
Remnants from the house such as one of the gate finials are in the safe keeping of Potters Bar Museum.
The lakes show on old maps of the site dating back to 1837. It is thought that the main lake was a formal feature for the house.
The exact date of the Japanese Garden is not known, although it is estimated the garden was created between 1859 and 1892 when Henry Parker made improvements to the house and grounds. On old black and white photographs found at Potters Bar Museum, the garden is referred to as the ‘Rock Garden’ and includes images of what appear to be Japanese bridges
Unfortunately, the Yorkstone footpaths in the garden deteriorated over the years leading to sections being replaced by concrete pavers, becoming overgrown with weeds and brambles and difficult for the public to access. The Council took the decision to apply for capital funding to replace the footpaths with a more suitable surface and increase access for people with disabilities. This work was completed in 2007. At the same time, the channels in the Japanese Garden were dug out and new plants were planted in areas of the garden.
The lake and Japanese pond in Parkfield are 0.19 Ha in size and are linked by channels, including a waterfall, and an overflow to a culvert down to Byng Drive. These are fed from rainfall and surface water from the Service Road and Parkside flats. The aim is to maintain the water courses, using management techniques that will facilitate a balanced, healthy, disease and pest-free environment for plants, insects and other aquatic life.
Up until the 1980’s, the majority of the park was long grass. At this time, areas began to be mown shorter and trees planted, particularly along Billy Lows Lane. Following wildflower surveys by Potters Bar in Focus, a more formal management regime of meadow cutting was established in 1997 and these areas remain today. In June 2011, the Friends carried out a wildflower survey finding 45 species.
The meadow grass areas are cut once a year to a height of 50 mm in August.
All cuttings are removed from the site to prevent a build up of nutrients, which discourages species diversity.
Tree Trail 22
Made from Oak, this statue was carved in the early 1990s to commemorate the people of Potters Bar.
It is carved from a complete oak trunk and the figures depict all life that depends on a tree to live.
The sculpture is by a local artist who also designed the Caterpillar Column in King George Recreation Ground, Bushey
The lake and Japanese pond in Parkfield are 0.19 Ha in area and are linked by channels, including a waterfall, and an overflow to a culvert down to Byng Drive. These are fed from rainfall and surface water from the Service Road and Parkside flats. The aim is to maintain the water courses, using management techniques that will facilitate a balanced, healthy, disease and pest-free environment for plants, insects and other aquatic life.
Potters Bar Tennis Club formed in 1934 and lease a part of the park for their use
The Tennis Club is a thriving private club with membership available. The club is open all year round and members can compete in Winter and Summer league fixtures (Middlesex/Hertfordshire leagues). The courts are also open for pay and play for non-members at certain times.
The raised planter at the High Street entrance is under the ownership of Hertfordshire Highways although the Parks Section maintain the planter as it is integral to the park. A public consultation in 2005 asked whether the planter should be removed but 70% of respondents wished for it to be retained. As a result, the planter was planted with a mixture of phormiums, perennials and annual bedding
Site of historical interest
A Roman Kiln was discovered in 1953 in the main field when tiles were unearthed during the construction of the main footpath. An excavation of the kiln followed, carried out by a volunteer workforce from the Barnet and District Record Society and the Edmonton Hundred Historical Society. The excavation revealed that it was indeed a Romano-British kiln with the furnace being the main surviving feature.
In 2000, a geophysical survey of the kiln site and surrounding area was carried out. At the same time a public event helped raise the awareness of the site and approximately 500 local school children and members of the public were invited to taste Roman food, enjoy fun and games in costume and have a go at pottery or spinning wool themselves with living history interpreters. The survey showed a number of possible archaeological features and it was decided to re- excavate the site over a wider area, looking for possible further Roman remains.
Following a grant from the Local Heritage Initiative and support from the Council, an excavation and another Roman event were held in the Summer of 2001 by the Potters Bar & District Historical Society. The excavation, which lasted two months, was carried out by the Welwyn Archaeological Society. Some of the finds and further information on Roman Potters Bar are on display at the Potters Bar Museum in the Wyllyotts Centre, Darkes Lane.
The exact location of the kiln is under the existing footpath leading to Byng Drive. It is described as a ‘clamp’ kiln where the unfired tiles are stacked with the wood fuel, which is then fired. The finds found during excavation imply that the kiln was used to manufacture building materials including floor and roof tiles, box flue tiles, and small brick cubes used to make mosaic floors.
The kiln may have been used by travelling potters who sold their products in London and St Albans. The kiln was abandoned at the end of the first century AD probably because of its exposed position and liability to flooding. A drain made from box tiles was built to try and remove the surplus water.
An information panel with all the facts and fragments of the tiles is located close to the site. Full reports of the archaeology survey and dig are in the safekeeping of the Potters Bar Museum and Council
A naturally damp area amongst the grassland to the southwest of the site has been planted up with wetland species. This has provided a seasonal pond that has diversified the wetland habitat provision of Parkfield. Such ponds support a wide variety of insects and amphibians due to the absence of fish.
Several areas of secondary woodland areas exist at the northeast of the site.
The North Woodland includes mainly oak and ash standards. The majority of these are located very close to one another and are competing for light. Beneath these, a native understorey includes a large number of hawthorns, many of which are now over mature. Two former glades are overgrown and beginning succession to woodland
The South Woodland includes a substantial open area on the eastern side to the north of an electricity substation. This area includes scattered scrub growth and an area of laurel. Block planting of native trees has taken place along the eastern boundary. Elsewhere in the woodland, trees include a number of sycamore, which supports a relatively small range of wildlife. The path running down the western side of the woodland is heavily shaded and unwelcoming.
The South Woodland transitions into the formal Japanese Garden with the ‘Holly Walk’. This provides planting that is suitable for a formal setting whilst native species ensure that this also has biodiversity importance. However, in areas the holly is over mature and also has a section of laurel that is shading out ground flora
The Green Flag Award winning park contains a range of attractions including traditional meadows, a Japanese Garden, holly walk, remains of a Roman Tile Kiln, tree trail, Potters Bar Tennis Club, a lake, a pond with linking water channel, tree sculpture and a World War Two air raid shelter.
The park is crossed by two main paths, one of which is the Diamond Jubilee Cycleway, part of the borough's greenway network.
Parkfield was acquired in 1934 having previously belonged to the Parker family, it was once part of a larger estate containing a house - which was later used as a nunnery, finally becoming a girls' school before demolition in 1935-36.
There are parking bays along Billy Lows Lane which are free outside of restrictions. Directions here
There are also pay and display parking bays of High Street by the main park entrance. Directions here
Alternatively, Salisbury Close Pay & Display car park is opposite the main entrance. Directions here
The Diamond Jubilee Cycleway goes through the park linking Darkes Lane and Potters Bar Train Station to the High Street