Jo Whitaker is the new Panshanger Park People and Wildlife Officer. Jo works for Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and her role is funded by Tarmac.
It may be grey, it may be cold and you may feel like you’ve not left the house in months but going outside for a walk is the best way to blow those cobwebs away and keep spirits up. After focussing more on our local green spaces recently, you may well have gotten to know a very special local wildlife gem a lot better during your daily exercise over the last year – Panshanger Park.
If Panshanger is on your doorstep, now is a great time to discover more about it. The 1000-acre ex-quarry parkland includes a nature reserve and historic landscape created by Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton. Why not make the most of winter with a walk around and see the wildlife this fantastic place has to offer.
Make sure to visit the lakes and see if you can spot visiting wildfowl that choose the park as their winter residence. Teal, wigeon, shoveler and gadwall all arrive here when the weather gets chilly – some from as far away as Russia.
Squirrels and jays have spent the autumn storing acorns and nuts in hidden places – which they use during winter to keep them going. Watch out for them as they hunt around, trying to remember where they’ve put all their snack deposits!
Whilst many of the trees at Panshanger look like they’re dormant for the winter, look closely to see if you can see any signs of tiny buds along the branches waiting for the first glimpse of spring.
Our local green spaces have been a refuge for many of us over the last year, but they have also been under a lot of pressure with all the extra visitors. So, whilst you are enjoying Panshanger Park, please do remember that it is also a home for many rare species and habitats. Sticking to the paths, keeping dogs under control and taking litter home with you are all ways to keep the site’s wildlife happy as well as safe for all of us to enjoy.
During the COVID 19 pandemic we ask that you make yourself aware of local and national restriction and only visit the park if you are permitted to do so. Currently we are under national lockdown which means that people should not be travelling outside of their local area for exercise.
As the new People and Wildlife Officer at Panshanger Park, my main responsibilities are to help the local community make the most of their visit and to improve the habitats in the park for wildlife. If you’re part of a local community group and would be interested in learning more about Panshanger Park and the work that goes on to manage it, then please get in touch. With restrictions still in place I’m very happy to arrange online talks. To get in touch with Jo please email to firstname.lastname@example.org