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Aldenham parkrun

Icey conditions in days leading up to parkrun day meant many events were cancelled this week. While I would have ideally been able to visit another event in Essex, I decided that I valued having options more in the event of cancellation this week, and so I instead headed to the cluster of events surrounding the Watford area.

The area

Aldenham Country Park is located near Watford, and centres on Aldenham reservoir, with grassland and woodland surrounding the reservoir itself. The reservoir was excavated by French prisoners of war during 1795 as part of the wider management of the Grand Union Canal's water levels, and now serves as a reserve water supply.

Sunrise at Aldenham Reservoir

In addition to the reservoir, the country park also supports the breeding of a number of rare species of farm animals, including cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep.

Oak tree in the morning at Aldenham Country Park

The course

The course follows two laps of the reservoir, with the second lap skipping the inner peninsular. The course is flat, and is run mainly on trail paths, with sections on tarmac and gravel.

Paid parking is available on site, while toilets are available in the visitor centre at the car park. Although the car park and visitor centre are located next to Dagger Lane, it is accessed from Aldenham Road. The country park has a choice of two cafes for post-run refreshments.

The run

With all of the evening cancellations reported yesterday, I wasn't sure whether it would go ahead or be cancelled even as I arrived for today's run. Fortunately, my fears were in vain, and with a number of reminders of the ice during the run briefing, we were under way.

I decided to keep word of my 100th event under wraps, as I have generally seen it as a by-product of my explorations, rather than a specific goal to achieve.

Thank you to all of the volunteers for making my 100th parkrun and 100th different location such a memorable one!

After the run

After the run, I decided to explore Aldenham Park, which is adjacent to the country park, and connected through a field. The park features an avenue of trees leading away from one of the main buildings of what is now Haberdashers Girls School.

Avenue of trees at Aldenham Country Park

London Elstree Aerodrome is located next to the park, and was very busy with pilots landing their planes and taking off at a regular rate.

After a spot of impromptu plane spotting, I headed back to the country park and explored the Winnie the Pooh trail, which is near the entrance, and includes a number of sculptures, including Christopher Robin's house, the bee tree, a heffalump trap, and Rabbit's house.

Christopher Robin's house

Rather appropriately given the weather, the North Pole can also be found on the trail!

The North Pole at Aldenham Country Park

I then continued to explore the remainder of the country park at a more leisurely pace, although this did mean that the ground had begun to thaw, and was getting slightly muddy!

A wooded part of the route

While the estate is famed for its animals; most seemed to be indoors on the day of my visit in their respective barns, and so I didn't manage to see many of the raare breeds, though the pigs were enjoying the weather!

Pigs at Aldenham Country Park

Links: Run report | Results | Strava

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