With a population of around 11,500, the Parish of Chorleywood covers 3.48 square miles in the south west corner of Hertfordshire alongside the Buckinghamshire border. An urban district until the end of March 1974, Chorleywood has now reverted to Parish status - with its Parish Council within the Three Rivers District, an authority based on the nearby town of Rickmansworth. Chorleywood may be said to be centred upon its greatest attraction - its Common which extends to 80 hectares (about 200 acres) of unspoilt and beautiful open space that belongs to the Parish and is used not only for walking and picnicking but also for golf, cricket and football.
On its south side is the Metropolitan railway line from Rickmansworth and London's Baker Street (a line also shared by British Rail trains from Marylebone) with, beyond Chorleywood Station, the shopping centre and residential thoroughfares reaching away to the suburb known as The Swillett, once a natural 'swill' from which several fresh water streams arose.On the north side, the Common is flanked by the main A404 road along which are the Parish Church and Chorleywood House Grounds, which contain the Council offices.
Other residential areas extend east to merge into those of Rickmansworth, and northwards, where they are located on both sides of the valley of the River Chess. Although the history of the area goes back to earliest times, Chorleywood remained small until the developments of the 19th Century, developments largely aided by the coming of the Metropolitan railway and the residential growth that took place on the various large local estates. Industry is very limited, Chorleywood being wholly residential in character.With the Chilterns and the gentle countryside of Hertfordshire both close at hand, this is indeed one of the choicest residential areas within close reach of London. It has good communications with the Capital. Schools and churches, modern shops and opportunities for the enjoyment of sport and recreation in the area are first rate.
The commercial centre of Chorleywood is situated at the junction of Shire Lane, with Lower Road and Main and New Parades (see photo right). There is a Budgen supermarket, J. & J. May Grocers, a butcher, two delicatessens, off-licence, furniture shop, bookshop, baker, flower shop, dry cleaner, sports shop, two chemists, post office, travel agent, several hairdressers, hardware shop, health salon, gift shops, two opticians, Peace Hospice charity shop, Watford New Hope Trust charity shop and Keech Children's Hospice charity shop. In addition, there are three estate agents, two newsagents and a photo shop. There is also a branch of the National Westminster Bank.
There are two doctors and three dentists surgeries and several restaurants - Italian, Indian and Oriental and many coffee shops. There is also a veterinary surgery. Professional services include solicitors, financial advisor and architects, The County Library is situated in Lower Road. There is also a small commercial area at the Swillett, which includes an Italian restaurant, a health salon, a holiday company and a children's nursery.
There are a number of public houses in the Parish. Chorleywood is particularly well served for education. There are four primary schools and a large co-educational secondary school within the parish, all are praised for their high standards well above the national norm and many are particularly noted for music and choral achievements. In addition there are various private and nursery schools. Many children progress to the nearby grammar or public schools.
Chorleywood House & Grounds
The present Chorleywood House was built in 1898 by Lady Ela Russell who had bought the original Georgian house in 1892. She converted this into a modern Victorian mansion and it was during her ownership that the grounds were laid out in extensive formal gardens with lawns, flower beds and many fine specimen trees. In 1939, after her death, the house and grounds were purchased by Chorleywood Urban District Council as their council offices.
The property devolved to Three Rivers District Council in 1974 until the Council transferred to Three Rivers House. Chorleywood House has now been converted into flats but the grounds remain in the ownership of the District Council, who with the help of volunteers from the Chorleywood House Estate Community Partnership, have carried out major restoration work over the last five years.
The grounds are open to the public and extend from the A 404 down to the River Chess, providing extensive opportunities for walkers. The grounds also contain public tennis courts and the separate Chorleywood Lawn Tennis Club playing tennis up to County standard on its six floodlit courts. The active Chorleywood Common Youth Football Club also has three pitches and pavilion there and Chorleywood Youth Club meets in premises in the grounds.
Administration - The Parish Council
Chorleywood was administered by a vestry until 1898 when a Parish Council was formed, a body replaced in 1913 when the area gained Urban District status. Sixty one years later, history turned full circle when the Parish Council was reborn in the District of Three Rivers under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972. Chorleywood Parish Council today has seventeen elected members representing five Wards, Chorleywood East, Chorleywood West, Chorleywood Chenies, Cedars and Quickwood (which resulted from the Local Government Boundary Review and 1999 elections) and has its own Parish Offices at South Lodge, Chorleywood House.The Clerk to the Council has three part time Administrative Staff, three Rangers and two Caretakers. They are responsible for the Lawn Cemetery, three Allotment sites, care and maintenance of the Common, the management of the War Memorial Village Hall, the Hollybush Hall and also the many Parish Footpaths.The Council’s Planning Committee closely monitors all planning applications made to Three Rivers District Council and comments as necessary. The Parish Council works in close co-operation with other bodies and organisations in the interests of the community. Council meetings are held at the Council Offices, South Lodge, Rickmansworth Road at dates published on the Council Notice Boards at the Council Offices and at the Shire Lane crossroads. The Public are welcome to attend these meetings and may address the Council. For further information please contact the Parish Office.
In 1997 Chorleywood twinned with the French town of Dardilly on the outskirts of Lyon. Dardilly is of a similar size and character to Chorleywood and the initial approach came from a family there who had relatives in Chorleywood. The Twinning Association facilitates exchanges between families, individuals and organisations with a view to forming a bond of friendship and goodwill between our two communities. Details of the Association’s aims and activities may be obtained from the Membership Secretary Pat Howell on 01923 774010 email@example.com.