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Exhibits: Lea Valley - Batford, Herts

Intro : Gallery : The Sluice : Leasey Bridge : Thatching : The Lea
Plank Bridge : Winter Scene : Stepping Stones : The Gibraltar
Footbridge : Two Willows
The ten Batford etchings illustrated here as exhibits are approximately A4 size (280 X 200mm) and are based on drawings made close to the artist’s home, where the River Lea passes through Batford within the Eastern boundary of Harpenden in Hertfordshire.

The Lea is a major tributary of the Thames. It is about 50 miles long and rises on the outskirts of Luton at Leagrave, which was first settled about 3,000 BC.

Here 10 miles downstream the river runs through the Batford Springs Nature Reserve, an attractive area of 4 acres which includes mixed woodland with magnificent willows and black poplars. On the west bank are disused watercress beds which were cultivated through the first half of the twentieth century. Pumps operated on 5 bore holes of up to 120 feet deep to raise water at a rate of 4,000 gallons/hour, so maintaining a constant depth of 3-4 inches; the bore holes are now silted up.

Batford Springs lies on the Lea Valley Walk www.leevalley-online.co.uk Hereabouts the walk follows the line of the pre-Beeching single track railway that linked Luton and Hatfield. This line passed through three intermediate stations at Wheathampstead, Harpenden (East) and New Mill Road. In 1864 one could have taken the 08.20 from Harpenden to arrive at Kings Cross at 09.37.

The walk to Batford from Wheathampstead passes Castle Farm on the site of a castle occupied in 1277 by John de Laycestria, vicar of Wheathampstead. Batford Mill is mentioned in the Doomsday Book, today it is a tidy group of small industrial units. The busy B 653 links to junction 4 of the A1 M to the east and to Luton in the west.

Further information on the area can be found on the Upper Lea Valley Group website and from Harpenden Town hall on 01582 768278.
 
   
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