Cedars Park, Cheshunt in 2020

Colin Wilson

Cedars Park has seen a number of developments over the last decade. Jane Ruffell posted an article about Cedars Park on Herts Memories in 2011 and referred to some initiatives. This article is an update, complementing but not replacing the previous article. Pictures follow the text. As far as the pictures are concerned, some areas seem to be devoid of people but that’s due to waiting till the area was clear so as to maintain privacy, especially for children. The park was definitely being well used on that day.

Following the developments, we have an historic park with enjoyable facilities inspired by the past but suitable for modern times. There’s something for everyone.

When entering by the pedestrian entrance, one of the first new items you see is a Tommy in uniform. He arrived in November 2019, just in time for the first ever Remembrance Day service to be held at Cedars Park.

On the other side of the path, under some trees, is a replica of a tank presented to Cheshunt after World War I. The nearby information board notes the original was sold for scrap during World War II. A replica tank was on loan for a week in July 2018, but this one, purchased by Broxbourne Council, was installed on 2nd July 2019.

Pets Corner, now renamed Cedars Nature Centre, houses 25 species, including meerkats, snakes and lizards. Various activities are provided.

Opposite the Nature Centre entrance can be found the Rose garden and the Bocca pitch, which can also be used for bowls and boules.

Next we find the maze. It’s about 25m square. When first planted it looked rather underwhelming, being made of shrubs barely a foot high. You could simply walk to the centre, being careful not to tread on the plants. Now the shrubs have grown to the stage where small children can explore as if they are in a proper maze, but can easily be seen by parents and not be scared of getting lost. Older children and adults would be wise to follow the paths because of the height of the bushes.

At the end of the Bocca pitch is an open air classroom area with benches and boards.

From there you can find a path leading through what could be called low woodland. Again, I remember when it was planted. It was more like an orchard with many saplings in a grassy area. Now it’s a pleasant secluded walk. You could be in the middle of nowhere but it’s only a few metres from the main road. You just don’t see the traffic.

As you exit the walk you find a fairly small carved vertical post figurine. Beyond that is The Venusburg, commonly called The Snail. The information board relates it to the Venusburg which existed in 1613. Whatever the history, children were having a great time sitting on the top and heading up and down the slope – much more fun than using the path.

Nearby is a wooden elephant, a reminder of the menagerie once kept by James I.

For those more interested in history, all round the park are information boards explaining the history of the site. These include copies of historical documents and pictures as well as models of various buildings.

Until recently the car park was rather small, behind what is the cafe area. It was accessed through the Celebration Gates. The Celebration Gates are now pedestrian only. Much safer. The car park (now main) entrance is closer to the A10 road, and the car park is at least three times as big as it was. That’s just as well, because even then it was quite full, showing the popularity of the park which has that much more for everyone.

It’s just over a century since the park was given to the people. There are many more images and information on the park’s website http://www.cedarspark.org/. Links within the site reveal plenty of activity going on in the background.

Thanks are due to Roy Gibbs (Cedars Park Community Ambassador) for supplying information about Tommy and the tank. He also cited internet links about them. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58bFkNLKU2o, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7QIuXmsDN0&t=46s and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHl2yiAa-h4

This page was added on 09/06/2020.

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  • To A. Locke
    The arboretum covers a significant portion of the park but does not include woodland around the far edges or the wildflower meadows beyond the maze. You can see the location here: https://www.cedarspark.info/nature/trees. There is a black mulberry listed in Zone A (where the car park is) but I do not know if this is the one planted by James I. The trees were given temporary numbers to ID in 2019 and we plan to install permanent tree tags this year.

    By Jake Gutteridge (22/08/2023)
  • I can’t find any information about where the arboretum is, although it’s mentioned.
    The trees used to be numbered and I remember in particular a mulberry tree – which is thought to have been the first, planted by James I. The second is in Forty Hall. Does it still exist, or was it removed to make way for the car park.

    By A.Locke (08/08/2023)
  • The replica Tank in Cedars Park is not based on the one that was given to Cheshunt (2740 – a Female Mark IV) but rather a completely different one: 2325 – a Male Mark IV.

    By Jake Gutteridge (07/11/2020)