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More to enjoy in Croxley

PUBLISHED: 12:38 18 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:19 20 February 2013

Purple Loosestrife and, with the white flowers, Meadowsweet, growing in one of the damper parts of the site

Purple Loosestrife and, with the white flowers, Meadowsweet, growing in one of the damper parts of the site

The Countryside Management Service highlights the beautiful expanse of Croxley Common Moor near Watford...


WHILST all around the land has been built on or improved for modern agriculture, Common Moor remains little changed. A Local Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, its 40 hectares of historic grassland straddle the flood plain of the River Gade. The action of the river, combined with centuries of grazing, has produced the rich and diverse plant life that we see today. Without grazing animals the moor would soon become covered in dense woodland.


The Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the diversity of its plant life and is also a designated Local Nature Reserve because of its value to local people. This protection is essential because there are only a very few similar river valleys still in existence in the county.



Variety of wildlife


Over 250 different types of plants have been found on the moor and the small scale changes in the lie of the land dramatically increases the variety.


Where the ground is raised, the freely draining sandy soils and gravels produce exceptionally dry ground, poor in nutrients favouring many flowering plants. Where the ground falls into hollows due to minor gravel workings or the ancient course of the river the soil becomes water-logged, leading to an altogether different collection of plants.


The grassland and scattered bushes provide an ideal home for birds, small mammals and countless insects. The free-flowing, clear waters of the River Gade are also home to an abundance of plant and animal life. Look out for numerous fish darting between the submerged reeds.


Local industry


Croxley Mill stood beside the moor for more than a century. Built by John Dickinson & Co to expand their paper business, Croxley Mill formed an early component of what was to become a world-wide business empire.


The construction began in 1828, and included a grand Egyptian faade, built to overcome the objections of Lord Ebury, who lived at Moor Park and had a view over the site. Croxley Mill was in existence for the next 154 years, finally being demolished in 1982.


How to get there


There is no car park for the Moor, however it is accessible on foot via the Grand Union Canal and the Ebury Way. The site can be reached from Watford using Riverside Road or Vicarage Rd to reach the Ebury Way which runs along the south side of Croxley Common Moor.


The site can be freely explored, however, please note that there are no surfaced paths and some areas are very boggy, especially in the winter.


By rail:


The Moor is only a five-minute walk from Croxley Underground Station.


By bus:


There are two ways to return. The easy one is walk up Mill Lane and take the underground from Croxley station. The other is via the Grand Union Canal towpath and Cassiobury Park.


There are regular buses from Rickmansworth or Watford to Croxley Green. Contact Intalink on 0871 200 2233 or at www.intalink.org.uk



Find out more



Croxley Common Moor is owned and managed by Three Rivers District Council, 01923 776611, www.threerivers.gov.uk


The Countryside Management Service works with communities across Hertfordshire to help them care for and enjoy the environment, 01727 848168, www.hertslink.org/cms


Friends of Croxley Common Moor, www.croxleycommonmoor.org.uk


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