The Importance of Being Earnest, a play by Oscar Wilde, Pride and Prejudice, a novel by Jane Austen and Animal Farm, a book by George Orwell all have connections to Hertfordshire, being set in or inspired by the area.
The county town of the ceremonial and non metropolitan county of Hertfordshire is Hertford and much of it is part of the London commuter belt being well served by rail and road routes and historically canals. This is because Hertfordshire lies across routes between London and the North, the North West and the Midlands. To the east of Hertfordshire is Essex, to the west is Buckinghamshire and to the north are Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. It’s always been traversed by major roads in England, originally the A1 to Yorkshire and Scotland, the A5 to North Wales, the A6 to the North West, the A41 to the Midlands and now the M1, M11, A1(M) and the A25.
The Counties Act 1844 eliminated exclaves and fixed Hertfordshire’s boundaries, they were then amended in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963 when both Barnet and East Barnet Urban Districts were abolished and became part of the Greater London area; this is now the London Borough of Barnet. At the same time Hertfordshire was extended to include the Potters Bar Urban District from Middlesex.
Hertfordshire’s highest point is ¼ miles from the village of Hastoe near tring which is 803 feet above sea level and its county flower is the Pasqueflower which was chosen by Plant life, a plant conservation charity, during a 2002 marketing campaign.
The east of Hertfordshire was covered by glaciers during the Ice Age and now has a superficial layer of boulder clays. The rocks of Hertfordshire are from the London Basin which has beds that dip in a south-easterly direction under the River Thames. The most important formations are the Cretaceous Chalk, high ground in the north and west of Hertfordshire known as the Chiltern Hills and the Palaeocene, Reading Beds and Eocene, London Clay occupying the remaining southern part.
Hertfordshire has traditionally produced lots of water-cress which came from the reliable, clean chalk rivers of Hemel Hempstead and Berhkamsted and is a widely agricultural county despite its spread of built areas.
Hertfordshire has a rich and varied wildlife, due to its affording habitat. The Royston Crow is so common it became the name of the regional newspaper, the Royston Crow published in Royston.