Cheslyn House and Gardens
"Watford's best kept secret", and a Green Flag Award winner!
Nascot Wood Road
Entry – Free
|November to February||9am to 4pm|
|March, October||9am to 6pm|
|April to September||9am to 8pm|
Open year round except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day
The R8 bus route stops outside Cheslyn House, and the 318 from Watford Junction stops nearby. Watford Junction itself is a short walk away (approximately 25 minutes).
There is a small car park adjacent to the gardens, and roadside parking is also available, although there are some yellow line restrictions.
Wheelchair access to the formal open area at the front
Limited wheelchair access to the semi natural woodland area at the back
Hiring the house
The house can only be hired for events of a horticultural or educational nature (e.g. meetings, lectures, training courses) or small charity/community/voluntary functions. The gardens can also be used for wedding photography but confetti is not allowed. For more information please email Client Services below.
Dogs are permitted in the gardens on leads: please ensure that you clean up after your dog.
What can be seen at Cheslyn
• Formal, open area to the front, semi-natural woodland area to the back
• A pond with wildlife including dragonflies, damselflies, frogs, newts, fish and water insects.
• An aviary with budgerigars, quail, assorted finches and other varieties of small birds.
• Wildlife such as: birds, squirrels, foxes, badgers and the occasional Muntjac deer.
• Many plants including standard trained wisteria sinensis, which is draped with lilac flowers in the summer; dahlias, palms and canna lilies
• In the spring you can see azaleas, rhododendrons snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells and woodland flowers
• Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera)
• Sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
• Indian bean tree (Catalpa bignonioides)
• Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba)
• Various acer species
There is an onsite gardener, who is usually somewhere in the garden, and is very knowledgeable about the plants and wildlife; he is happy to share this knowledge with visitors.
Henry and Daisy Colbeck originally owned the house and gardens. Mr Colbeck was a renowned architect, and designed Cheslyn House; he and his wife created the original gardens. The Colbecks travelled a lot, and this is reflected in the range of unusual and exotic plants in the gardens.
From 1965, the Council ran Cheslyn in partnership with the Colbecks, and increased the size of the gardens to their present day size of 1.41 hectares (3.5 acres). The Council took full control on Mr Colbeck's death, and since then have developed the gardens, with new features added such as the pond, rock garden, large herbaceous borders and the aviary. The brick arch leading to the woodland area is all that remains of the original boundary of the gardens.
Cheslyn Management Plan.pdf (Adobe PDF format, 6177Kb)
Cheslyn Management Plan updated January 2013