Panshanger Park’s dragonfly hotspot

July 26, 2023

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. 

As the summer season progresses it’s a good time of year to be looking for dragonflies and damselflies. Why not head down to Panshanger Park for some great spotting opportunities?

Emperor dragonfly ©Tim Hill

This summer, Panshanger Park celebrates having been named a dragonfly hotspot by the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) – the world’s largest volunteer-led organisation that specialises in the study and conservation of dragonflies, damselflies and their wetland habitats. 

The dragonfly hotspot accreditation was given to Panshanger Park due to its thriving dragonfly population, as well as it being habitat that can help to be managed by volunteering efforts, and within a site that is easily accessible for people to visit to see the dragonflies. 

There are 19 different species of dragonflies and damselflies that can be seen at Panshanger Park, with it being one of the best spots in the county to see them. They require a mixture of habitats such as wetlands, river and grassland depending on species. Most importantly however, they require ponds into which they can lay their eggs and for the aquatic nymph stage of their life to be successful.

On your next visit to the park head down from the Thieves Lane car park to the start of the dragonfly trail. This route has now been extended to continue along the Rifle Butts wildflower meadow, with a viewing area over the River Mimram, and then round to the Kings Lake and Riverside Lake. The newly surfaced path leading from the car park will improve accessibility for visitors, and the new interpretation boards along the route will give insight into the amazing lives of the dragonflies and damselflies. Whilst walking the trail in warm, sunny and not too breezy weather will provide the best chances of seeing the dragonflies and damselflies. 

If you’d like to hear more about dragonfly hotspots and what’s going on with your local wildlife, then come along to the dragonfly hotspot event on Saturday 29 July. This will run from 11am to 4pm near Thieves Lane car park and will include family activities, wildlife stands and guided walks. The Panshanger Park dragonfly quiz trail will also be launched at this event and after this, quiz sheets will be available throughout the summer in the car park until the 10 September. 

There are also guided walks around the new dragonfly trail on Saturday 19 August and Saturday 16 September. For more information on these events please visit

Share any dragonfly and damselfly photos with us on Twitter and Facebook using @PanshangerPark and #DragonflyHSPanshanger. 

Jo Whitaker is the Panshanger Park people and wildlife officer. She works for Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and her role is funded by Tarmac.