From one year to the next

January 17, 2024

Panshanger Park is 1,000 acres of countryside situated between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is working with the park’s owners, Tarmac, to manage the park for both people and wildlife. 

The start of a new year can be a time of reflection on the year just past, as well as looking ahead for what’s to come. Now seems a good time to look back at what happened at Panshanger Park in 2023. If you’ve visited the park anytime over the last year, then hopefully you’ve been able to enjoy some of these wildlife and event highlights. 

Volunteers planting trees in Queen’s Wood.

Thinking back to this time last year, the park saw hundreds of hardy volunteers braving the frosts and frozen ground to help plant trees for our new woodland, Queen’s Wood. Those 17,000 trees have now had a year to settle in and enjoyed a summer of rain and sunshine to get a solid first year’s growth.

It was a busy summer for events and news; in June, Panshanger Park welcomed the Welwyn 10k for the first time, in partnership with organisers Garden City Runners. Despite the very hot weather almost 500 runners made their way around the route, which took in many of the park’s habitats and features such as the Great Oak, the orangery, woodlands, wetlands, the lakes and the River Mimram.

July was a celebratory month for Panshanger Park as it saw the park being recognised as a dragonfly hotspot by the British Dragonfly Society. This was due to the park’s thriving dragonfly population. A few celebratory events were held at the park with opportunities for visitors to enjoy the newly extended dragonfly trail, as well as a programme of guided walks to help spot and identify these fascinating invertebrates.

Runners taking part in the Welwyn 10k run (left) and a common blue damselfly (right).

In September, we shared the exciting news that the park had been identified as one of the most important sites in the UK for saproxylic coleoptera – which are beetles that rely on dead or decaying wood. Two species were new records for the county, with one of these being a rare beetle of ancient woodland found in only four other locations in the British Isles. 

With all the great occasions that happened in 2023, we are looking forward to what will be happening this year – hopefully lots more great wildlife spots as well as events and opportunities.  

To find out about the wildlife and habitats of Panshanger Park, and the future plans for the park, come along to ‘The Nature of Panshanger Park’ event, which will be taking place on Thursday 25 January at The Sele School, Hertford, between 6.30pm and 9.30pm. It’s an evening packed with interesting talks provided by the experts from the British Dragonfly Society, Wild Trout Trust, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and EMEC Ecology, and isn’t one to be missed! 

For more information and to book your free place, visit: