Finding perfection in Shenley

PUBLISHED: 18:14 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:19 20 February 2013

Finding perfection in Shenley

Finding perfection in Shenley

As well as being home to a spectacular rural retreat with breathtaking views, Shenley boasts flourishing clubs and societies, and displays a strong sense of community spirit, as Louise McEvoy discovers


CELEBRATING its 70th annual show this year, the Shenley and District Horticultural Society currently boasts about 240 members and is going from strength to strength.
Members of the society get involved in a number of community events, including having a stand at the annual Shenley carnival and fete, which this year takes place on Sunday, June 27, on the Harris Lane playing fields. The community day promises to have plenty of stalls and attractions to entertain people of all ages, from face painting and Punch and Judy shows, to a beer tent and reflexology sessions.
Society members also enjoy talks throughout the year, social events such as barbeques and quiz nights, and an annual weekend away to places such as the Eden Project. The society has a trading shed open once a week at allotments in Shenley, allowing its members to purchase gardening and horticultural supplies at competitive prices.
Treasurer of the society, Colin Sidney, says, I have been a member for about 30 years, and I joined because I have always been interested in trying to get involved in community things. The buzz I get out of it is helping to keep the society going, along with a big committee of people who all do different jobs.
He adds, At one point the society used to be heavily involved with the allotments, during World War II. Historically we have become a bit more independent of them, but obviously a lot of our members do have allotments in Shenley. Over the last few years theres been a huge surge of interest in allotments, and theres now a waiting list. Its a sign of the times people are more involved in eating home grown food, and I guess the recession has had an impact.

For more information about the society, and to enquire about membership, call Colin on 01923 469385. For more information about this years Shenley carnival and fete, visit


NOW a 45-acre open space for the public, Shenley Park was once the site of a psychiatric hospital, and before that a private estate known as Porters Park.
Managed by Shenley Park Trust, the rural retreat has an orchard, meadow, walled garden with amphitheatre, play areas, and a tea room.
Liz Ensor, who lives on site with her husband Glyn who is the park director, has been head gardener at Shenley Park for the past six years. Its a family affair, she chuckles, adding, Its a great job - theres no doubt. I started off as a scientist and came to gardening late in life. I cant believe now I used to work indoors.
Liz, who manages two full-time gardeners, says she loves the fact that every day is completely different and says the jewel in the parks crown has to be the walled garden. Its stunning and very beautiful, she enthuses, and we also have breathtaking views. Its such a beautiful garden you can be happy out there in the rain.
There are a number of events planned to take place at Shenley Park throughout the summer, including a performance of Robin Hood by the Cambridge Touring Theatre, and the chance to take a picnic and listen to a performance by the Phoenix Concert Band.

For more information about upcoming events, and about Shenley Park in general, visit


SHENLEY Colts was formed at London Colney Cricket Club in Shenley by Mark Stear in 2003.
The colts section of the club, whose members range in age from nine to 16, has continued to expand since its inception, with members now playing for the Hertfordshire and Middlesex county cricket clubs youth sides.
Mark, who is the Shenley Colts director of cricket and runs the section, says, I have played cricket all my life. I lived in Shenley for a while and discovered there was space for running the colts section at London Colney Cricket Club. I decided to do it, and its going really, really well.
I love seeing the young people progress and develop and improve their game, while learning some spirit and camaraderie.
Members, who are both boys and girls, meet on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings and new members are always welcome.

For more information email or visit

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