Panshanger Park celebrates 10-year anniversary

April 2, 2024

One of Hertfordshire’s best loved places, Panshanger Park, is celebrating 10 years since it opened to the public.

To mark the anniversary, park owner Tarmac is pleased to announce that the park has successfully applied for funding from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The 10-year agreement will lead to further restoration of the park’s historic landscape.

The park’s eastern side was officially opened on April 1, 2014, with visitors being able to explore and enjoy the land around Osprey Lake. Over the past 10 years, Tarmac has worked with partners Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Hertfordshire County Council, and contractors Maydencroft, to restore the park and open more areas to the public.

Tarmac has owned Panshanger Park, a registered Grade II* historic park and garden, since the 1980s, quarrying areas of the park for sand and gravel before carefully restoring it to the landscape you see today. To continue with the successful restoration and development, Tarmac has put in place a detailed management plan to ensure the park is maintained and enhanced to benefit both nature and visitors. 

The new funding from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme will be used to maintain and restore the park, along with creating wood pasture and new parkland. In addition to the Longhorn cattle, there are plans to introduce other livestock to graze the park in an ecologically considerate manner. More trees will be planted, and the veteran trees will be sensitively managed to prolong their lifespan. To enhance the River Mimram chalk stream which runs through the park, bankside coppicing will be completed to prevent overshading and to allow members of the public to enjoy this rare river habitat.

The funding will also allow important restoration works to take place on historic features in the park, including an icehouse and a barrel-vaulted store. Larger scale works such as the clearance of invasive laurel and the opening up of the Cole Green oak avenue will help to restore the parkland back to its former wood pasture glory as well as protecting the integrity of the site for decades to come.

Michael Charlton, estates manager at Tarmac, said: “We are excited to be receiving funding from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The grant will allow us to develop the park and enhance the progress we have already made in making Panshanger an outstanding country park. 

“We are very proud of what we have achieved at the park and can’t wait to see how it develops in the future.” 

Tim Hill, conservation manager at Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “Panshanger Park is a wonderful refuge for both wildlife and people. Its historic landscape contains habitats of international importance to nature whilst at the same time providing one of the most popular places in Hertfordshire for people to experience and enjoy the beauty of the mix of woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands. The park is now established in the local community with over 200 volunteers helping to care for its habitats and the animals which depend upon them.” 

Key dates in the history of Panshanger Park:

2014 – Panshanger Park opened to the public and the first people and wildlife officer was appointed 

2015 – Oak trail opened 

2016 – First Biodiversity conference 

2017 – First Festival of Wildlife 

2017 – Park wins Mineral Product Association restoration award for outstanding restoration 

2019 – Longhorn cattle start grazing 

2019 – Park appeared on BBC Countryfile 

2021 – Western approach path opens 

2021 – Chalk river restoration with Wild Trout Trust 

2022 – Over 200 volunteers registered to help maintain the park 

2022/2023 – Queen’s Wood planting takes place 

2023 – Park is named a Dragonfly Hotspot by the British Dragonfly Association