Where is Crews Hill, and what’s there?
Well, the first I could answer by looking at the map. It’s an area some four and a half kilometres north of Enfield, as the crow flies. Just tucked inside the M25, access to the motorway is via Potters Bar to the west and Waltham Cross to the east: each about 4 kilometres away.
…and what’s there? Well, read on, and you’ll be surprised unless, of course, you know the area. The area’s proximity to the motorway and three suburban towns offers a little clue for those who don’t. But first…
Crews Hill Station
Courtesy of the Great Northern railway, I head out of London from Moorgate as far as my 60+ London travel card will take me. Maybe I need to retitle my new journey theendoftheline#02 to something more imaginative. Any ideas?
The Great Northern line runs to Hertford North and onwards to Stevenage at weekends, and Crews Hill station is a little over one hundred years old, having opened in 1910. The station has little to offer architecturally, and the platforms have limited seating and shelter as you climb the stairways from the road below. As you stand on the platforms, the views north and south are uninterrupted, with the rail lines appearing to converge at the point of infinity.
This directional sign gives you a feel for what to expect by way of local places of interest. I can’t imagine the station is used much for commuting as this is not a residential area, although there is a small car park. And with little expectation, as I leave the station, I’m confronted with a choice: east or west?
West it is then, but after a 100 metres or so under the railway bridge, I decide not to walk to Potters Bar but instead make my way east into what I discover to be North London’s garden centre, all within half a kilometre of the station.
The following may seem like a directory for services in the area, but I include them merely to demonstrate the scale and diversity of what’s available. And maybe if you’re looking for something, you may decide to take a look.
Garden Centres galore
Not one or two or even three, but there are at least nine of them of varying types and sizes. Some of them are the kind of locations I imagine where the likes of Gardner’s World experts, such as Adam Frost, Joe Swift, Carol Klein and Rachel de Thame, would visit when planning their award-winning gardens.
Let me list them: Wolden Garden Centre, Culver Garden Centre, Enfield Garden Centre, Crews Hill Nurseries, Springtime Nurseries, Browns Garden Centre, Paramount Plants & Gardens, Crews Hill Wholesale Plants and Hillside Nursery.
In his 2017 blog, the renowned London blogger, ianVisits, promotes the view that this once rich area of arable land, noted for its cottage garden industry, succumbed to changes in food production and delivery methods. Consequently, landowners had to adapt and diversify using their knowledge of the land to changing demands.
I confess I didn’t visit them all. The only one I spent some time exploring was Wolden’s because of its convenience across the road from the station’s car park. And by convenience, I mean convenience as there are none at the station. So whilst I took advantage of their facilities, I had a bit of a nose around too.
Here’s a couple of images of my brief interlude at Waldon’s.
Many other retail outlets also live in harmony here, feeding off the garden centre’s popularity. For example, for pet owners, there are at least six outlets: The Enfield Bird Centre, Crews Hill Reptiles, Kingfisher Aquatics, Home Marine aquatics, the London Bird Shop and Jollyes – the pet superstore.
Out of curiosity, I did take a peek inside the Enfield Bird Centre, but I heed their ‘no photographs’ notices. To be honest, though, I’m not a fan of caged animals, small or large. So be they for personal entertainment or conservation purposes, I had no interest in exploring any other outlets. But if it’s your thing, then this is a place to visit.
Have you, or are you thinking of creating extra space in your garden? Many people have done just that in the last two years or so during the coronavirus pandemic. If you are, then why not visit Johnsons Garden Buildings.
Here there’s what looks like a collection of well-appointed beach huts. Their doors are open invitingly, waiting for their sea-soaked visitors to return from the surf and the waves. That sounds rather poetic, doesn’t it? But this image shows off the range of available garden buildings they have on offer.
Your London Florist was an exciting find, and on the face of it from outside, it was a little uninspiring. BUT I was drawn to it, curious as to why a London florist would be so far out of London?
Inside the cavernous barn, the walls and ceilings are full of colour. Migle and her team, who were working in full view, but remotely from the public area, were delighted that I took an interest, and she was happy for me to take some pictures. These are just a few that showcase their displays.
Shed Load Of Crafts
Turning into Theobalds Park Road, why not visit Brown’s Village and discover a cornucopia of small businesses, specialist retailers and community clubs. Crews Hill Vintage Emporium is a must for any collector. The space has been divided creatively into rooms dedicated to specialist collections, and you’re free to roam and remember things from your childhood days and further back in time.
But my heart melted when I tentatively poked my head inside the Shed Load Of Crafts. Colourful and enticing from the outside, and warm and inviting inside. The shop does what it says, and it’s a haven for those who enjoy crafting, knitting and being creative.
Sandra and Yvonne run it as an outlet for local crafters to showcase their goods, and they are delighted and happy for me to photograph what was on display. Even though they are camera shy themselves.
Clay Hill to Gordon Hill
It’s time to stretch my legs on a three-kilometre walk down Theobalds Park Road to Clay Hill. Along the way, I pass the entrance to Whitewebbs Museum of Transport which is closed due to the pandemic, and trudge up and down the road before resting at St John the Baptist church at the junction with Strayfield Road.
It’s here I meet Leslie and Edna. Well, not in person, but their names are carved on the side of a water trough outside the church. It seems they were much loved parish residents, with their memories living on overlooking this idyllic and well-kept church, looking resplendent in the mid-afternoon sun. Unfortunately, despite some internet searching, I’m unable to find out who Leslie and Edna were, so maybe the parish residents can enlighten us?
Where there’s a church, there’s a pub, and less than a mile down the hill, I find The Rose & Crown. This 17th Century Grade II listed building epitomises the English Country pub, which was once owned by a near relative of the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin. However, various internet searches suggest different relationships between the pub’s owner and Dick Turpin.
The harsh midday sun almost bleaches out the green painted walls. Nevertheless, the pub’s character and age can be seen quite clearly from this end view.
I head southwest through Hilly Fields Park. I have to be honest; I’m a little weary as the early afternoon sun saps my energy, and I’m eager to reach my destination. But not before passing through the high rise estate along Blossom Lane.
Stark and sundrenched, there’s always something architecturally interesting about the symmetry of high rise buildings, and workers were busy landscaping the front of the buildings. One resident was peering over the balcony smoking a cigarette, but she was reluctant to be photographed.
Nevertheless, the small splash of colour in the centre of this picture provides an interesting contrast to the otherwise magnolia colour palette. It symbolises the high rise tower block that became fashionable as a quick housing solution in the 1960s.
The station is 2.5 kilometres south of Crews Hill station, and it was opened at the same time in 1910. And for some inexplicable reason, I always associate this station with Thomas the Tank Engine. I can only think it’s because of its namesake – Gordon the engine. But there can be no other reason, or is it just the way my brain is wired sometimes.
This image is of the covered walkway that leads down from the main entrance onto the platforms. Its starkness is somewhat exaggerated in this black and white image.
Picture of the Day – Fairy Door
This mural is on a wall leading into the delightful Shed Load of Crafts store, and you can’t but admire the artwork. Maybe it’s because the sun highlights the sunflower, or perhaps it’s how the shadow effect created by the wall’s wood panelling accentuates the horizontal lines.
Or maybe I have a soft spot for fairy doors as it reminds me of my granddaughters who always head out into our garden to find what’s been left for them behind our fairy door on a felled tree stump. Whatever the reason, the mural’s brightness is captivating and leads you to look closer. It’s then you see the bird, flower and fairy decoupage, and it all blends seamlessly with the small collection of wildflowers at its base.
- Location: Shed Full of Crafts, Brown’s Village, Theobalds Park Road, Crews Hill, Enfield
- Date/Time: Thursday 3rd June 2021 12:34 pm
- Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/200; Focal Length – 39mm; Film Speed – ISO100
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