‘Queen’s Wood’ complete thanks to community effort

March 2, 2023

The creation of our new public woodland commemorating the life of Her Majesty has been officially completed, thanks to volunteers from local schools, residents, businesses and community groups.

Part of the park’s contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, work began on the project in November 2022 – with the finished woodland now featuring 17,341 saplings. In total, 19 species of tree and shrubs have been planted, including oak, scots pine, hazel, dogwood and spindle, to provide resilience to climate change, pests and diseases.

The woodland has been designed to create a new habitat in the 1,000-acre park on an area of land previously used for arable farming and will link existing woodland areas, creating wildlife corridors and encouraging a variety of plants and animals to thrive. As the woodland matures, there are also plans to introduce a wildflower meadow and ponds.

Park owner Tarmac worked with partners Hertfordshire County Council, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and Maydencroft to develop the design of Queen’s Wood, with additional advice sought from Historic England, Natural England and Hertfordshire Gardens Trust.

Tarmac extended thanks to the 1,100 local volunteers who contributed some 2,750 hours to planting each tree by hand. Stuart Wykes, director of land and natural resources, said: “It’s a truly momentous occasion as we finish the planting of our Queen’s Wood and, thanks to the support of local volunteers, have even exceeded our 17,000 target.

“The Queen’s Wood has been created by and for the community, serving as a living legacy to Her Majesty. We’re excited to watch the woodland mature and thrive in the years to come – becoming a treasured space that everyone can enjoy.”

Nick Hoyle, local resident and volunteer, took part in 11 planting sessions. He said: “I got involved because planting trees helps the environment in so many different ways. And I’m intrigued by the thought I might have planted the next Great Oak of Panshanger!”

Fellow volunteer Trevor Roche, who planted over 500 trees, said: “I’m very conscious of my carbon footprint and see planting a new woodland as a very worthy activity to combat climate change. I really enjoy walking in Panshanger Park and am looking forward to seeing these new trees growing larger every year.”

Cllr. Eric Buckmaster, executive member for the environment at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We are thrilled that the Queen’s Wood has now been planted and will be providing tangible benefits to both the local communities around Panshanger, as well as helping to enhance biodiversity, reduce carbon and improve air quality.”

“When we took up the mantle to oversee the Queen’s Green Canopy in Hertfordshire, we really wanted a large statement planting site that would leave a lasting legacy to Her Majesty. Thanks to our partners at Tarmac and all the volunteers and organisations who helped plant the wood, this is now a reality.”

Jo Whitaker, Panshanger Park’s people and wildlife officer, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “This has been an incredible project to work on. Not only because of the community support and collaboration, but also because of the impact this woodland will have on the local environment and our efforts to fight climate change.

“The new woodland will absorb carbon within the atmosphere and improve biodiversity locally, creating a variety of habitats for wildlife to thrive.”

The planting of the new woodland has been supported by a grant from the Forestry Commission through the England Woodland Creation Offer scheme.