Article for MyNews

Unusually for an MP, I lived in the constituency first and was selected as a Parliamentary candidate subsequently. Consequently, I didn’t move to South West Hertfordshire in order to become the MP – I was already here.

So why live here in the first place?

I am not a lifelong Hertfordshire resident. I was born and brought up in Suffolk but, after university and law school, moved to London to work. On the basis of having friends already in the area, I started off in Willesden Green before moving to West Hampstead, where my wife and I bought a flat.

London is a fabulous city but, at weekends, we both had a desire to get out into the countryside. After a busy week working in a City law firm, there were few better ways of getting away from it all than a country walk, ideally involving a country pub.

We explored many parts of the Home Counties but, given that we were a short walk from Finchley Road tube station, the opportunities available on the Metropolitan Line were increasingly attractive. Walks from Chorleywood station, in particular, became firm favourites. Over the Common, down the Chess Valley, up to Sarratt – stop for lunch – and back again. It was hard not to fall in love with the area.

So why live here? At least initially, the countryside and the influence of The Good Pub Guide!

I think it can be easy to under-estimate the enjoyment from a good walk. We are lucky in our part of the world – whether it be the Chess Valley, the Aquadrome or some of our local woods. Closer to the north of my constituency, the Ashridge Estate and the Ivinghoe Beacon also provide some great walks.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be shown the recently re-vitalised Oxhey Woods by officials from Three Rivers District Council, Hertfordshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

I have driven past the woods many times on the way to South Oxhey but this was the first time I have stopped off and explored Oxhey Woods. Apparently, at a hundred hectares, it is the largest accessible wood in south Hertfordshire and, thanks to support from the organisations mentioned above and the Forestry Commission (as well as the enthusiastic efforts of many volunteers), there has been a major project to improve it.

There is now a 1km ‘short walk’ with various wood sculptures along the way. I particularly liked the ‘living room’ – a carved television and comfy chair.

I thought it was great. Within 24 hours, I was back again – this time with the family and completing the longer walk.

Woods like these can add so much to an area. Obviously, it is good for wildlife and biodiversity. But it is also good for residential areas to have somewhere close by to walk. Apparently, a good wood can have a dramatic impact on exercise levels for local residents and, in general, it does a huge amount for people’s quality of life. The success of the National Trust, with four million members, demonstrates the desire of many to enjoy our countryside and heritage.

When it comes to environmental matters, there can be a tendency to assume that things are always getting worse. In fact, when it comes to woodland, there is a positive story to be told. In 1900, just 5% of the UK’s land area was woodland cover. According to the Forestry Commission in 2011, woodland cover is now up to 13%.

Here in Hertfordshire, the Woodland Trust has an ambitious project to create a new 850 acre forest – Heartwood Forest – north of St Albans, made up of existing ancient woodland as well as former farmland which is to be ‘re-forested’. According to the Woodland Trust, this process should take twelve years.

Hertfordshire is a relatively densely populated county but, as our part of the world demonstrates, it is still possible to maintain attractive countryside which can be enjoyed by local people.


David holds regular surgeries at various places in the constituency, including Rickmansworth, South Oxhey, Berkhamsted and Tring. 
Forthcoming dates:


22nd June, South Oxhey
6th July, Berkhamsted
20th July, Rickmansworth
2nd August, Tring
13th August, South Oxhey
31st August, Berkhamsted
14th September, Rickmansworth
28th September, Tring
19th October, South Oxhey
26th October, Berkhamsted
9th November, Rickmansworth

Call 01923 771781 to make an appointment.

Record of surgeries

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