A walk around Sopwell in 1900

Saturday Afternoons Rambles for Pedestrians
No V – Round St Albans and thence to Harpenden Heath


Commencing at St Albans (Midland Station) it is necessary to turn right on quitting the down platform.

On reaching the main road up to the town, the first turning on the left (Alma-road) must be taken.

This terminates on reaching the London-road, but a lane will be seen almost opposite. Follow along here and on reaching its end turn to the right along another road with cottages on the right and meadows to the left.

The first turning on the left is then to be taken, and we begin to get clear of the houses. This road leads slightly downhill and crosses the river.

Immediately after, the ruins of Sopwell Nunnery will be seen in a field on the left. Dismantled at the time of the Reformation, this Nunnery is now little more than bare walls, though a portion of the old building is still used as an outhouse. The extent of the masonry, which can still be traced shows how important an establishment it was in the days of its prime.

From here a path on the right will be seen to cross the meadows. It starts at a point just beyond some cottages on the right, and exactly opposite the ruins.

This leads across two meadows (giving an excellent view of the Cathedral and town), and then enters a short street which must be followed till it reaches a main road. This is Holywell Hill, and any ramblers who may have preferred to go direct into the town to inspect the Cathedral can take up the walk here.

Turn to the left along this road and the L and N.W and G.N.R. Station will be seen at once on the left.

The road passes the station, and, rising soon reaches a cross-roads with St Stephens Church on the left. The Church will well repay inspection. There are traces of Norman work though the greater part of the fabric is of later date. The building occupies a picturesque situation and may provide a subject for a photo if the rambler be thus minded.


Extracted from The Daily News Saturday, July 7th 1900, p6.