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  Grovehill, Piccotts End, Woodhall Farm and Phoenix

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Early Memories


There was a 'supermarket' at the corner of  Crawley Drive and Aycliffe Drive.

Did this have a Post Office?


We called it 'Checkpoint Charlie' after the checkpoint on the Berlin Wall and 'The Cambrian Gap' after a popular Skiffle song Cumberland Gap.


There was no Link Road, just a long grassy avenue leading down to the Leighton Buzzard road between St Agnells Lane and Highfield much loved as a wild play area by the local children.


The only ways to drive out of the estate were via Crawley Drive or Piccotts End Lane, which opened onto Aycliffe Drive and was no wider than it is today.


Later the Pennine Way was extended to meet Aycliffe Drive to allow buses to go through. The traffic bollards to prevent cars from going through failed one day and stranded a bus there. Eventually the Link Road was built much to everyone's relief.


The Crudace company built the Marlborough Rise estate


There is a small self build estate on the north side.


They called it Cardboard City. I had to stop when I tried to remove the wallpaper from a wall in my house as I was bringing off the layers of cardboard.


Some of the terraces are of the distinctive Spur design.


The roof of the Church of the Resurrection resembles a wooden ship. The Times 11 August 1978. 


When it was built the estate was known as Grove Hill as there was a space between the words Grove and Hill but in old documents it is usually just one word, Grovehill.


At the back of Craigavon Road the council gardeners had the use of garages for their equipment and maintained the public garden areas, salted the entrances to sheltered housing and shops etc in bad weather and even on one occasion used a large flat barrow to bring a resident to the doctor's surgery. We could have done with these men in 2009 when the entire entrance to the Community Centre was a sheet of ice for two days.


A very special Christmas experience for us was to go as a family to Wood End Farm, off Cherry Trees Lane to buy our Christmas Tree. The great barn there was fragrant with spruce Christmas trees, and bunches of Evergreens and Mistletoe hung from the roof. Pheasants and rabbits for sale were hanging from the beams.  


Another precious Christmas experience was to go to the Turkey Farm at Piccotts End to order a turkey and see all the turkeys gobbling about there.


We protested without any notice being taken when they wanted to build on the bluebell wood, few bluebells bloom in the remaining strip. We protested again when they cut down a magnificent oak tree that showed no sign of disease.


Two different people told me that they went back from Grovehill to Cupid Green to feed the feral cats who had been doing their bit for rodent control at the Council Refuse depot after the depot was moved.


The footballer, Vinney Jones lived in a house where Crawley Drive starts.


The Herald Snooker Club started as a private members club which was opened by the champion racehorse Red Rum in 1981. Quite how the horse managed to cut the ribbon is not clear. When the private club closed Alf Garnett opened the Herald Snooker Club.


The bricks to build Two Beeches Farm came from an old house called Heaven's Gate which was on Gaddesden Lane between Gaddesden Row and Redbourn. It is shown on Bryant's map 1820-21.


Where was 'Dacorum Way?


Reminiscences of a visit to stay at a local farmhouse in the 50's.



Betty Dunbar's memories of St Agnell's Farm where she was born



David Clarke remembers Cupid Green, where he was born.



Sudha Brahmbatt, an East African Asian writes of being granted asylum when forced to leave Uganda.


Splat TURQUOISE A Farm Holiday Splat TURQUOISE Betty Dunbar David Clarke Sudha Brahmbhatt