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. Here Jo Whitaker, Panshanger Park People and Wildlife Officer, looks at the arrival of spring in the park.


It feels like the spring weather is keeping us in suspense for the time being, with winter wear still being a central part of the daily wardrobe. However, in our local green spaces, wildlife is anticipating the spring and has been getting ready.

At Panshanger Park the snowdrops have been brightening the landscape up for a while now. And some of the cheery yellow daffodils are hesitantly peeking through. Have a look for these down from the Orangery and in Garden Woods by the house site - lots can be seen from the central track through the park.

Other, slightly subtler, flowers are also in evidence at this time of year. Wood anemones are a sign of spring and are found in dappled light conditions in woodlands.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Wood anemones soaking up the spring sunshine.Wood anemones soaking up the spring sunshine. (Image: Emma Matthars)




It is quite a low growing species, hence why not quite as obvious as some of its showier peers. It has delicate petals, which are in fact sepals - usually the green part of the flower found outside the petals to protect them as it gets ready to bloom.

The name wood anemone comes from the Greek god of wind, Anemos. In early spring he sent his namesakes ‘the anemones’ to herald his coming. Wood anemones are also sometimes called ‘Windflower’ because of this legend.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Cowslips, originally cow slops, heralding the spring weatherCowslips, originally cow slops, heralding the spring weather (Image: Supplied by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust)

Currently starting to emerge are the cowslips. Cowslip were originally known as ‘cow slop’ due to their association with cow pats in fields! They can be found out in grassland meadows but also woodlands, too.

Their bright yellow, rosette flowers are a definite sign that spring is on its way and, as with all these spring flowers, are an important source of nectar for early pollinators.

Beetles, bees and butterflies, such as the brimstone butterfly - one of the first to be seen in the season - all benefit from the nectar rich spring flowers.

Leaf buds on the trees are also starting to come through - keep an eye out for these as you walk through the park.


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Especially exciting is the signs of leaves coming out on the saplings of our new woodland! If you’ve not walked past yet, do have a look at our new woodland site in the centre of the park.

To celebrate the arrival of spring we will have a free family friendly quiz trail starting from Thieves Lane car park running from April 1 to April 16.

Feel free to pick up a quiz sheet from ranger in the car park. For more information on upcoming events at Panshanger please visit

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Jo Whitaker, Panshanger Park People and Wildlife OfficerJo Whitaker, Panshanger Park People and Wildlife Officer (Image: Jo Whitaker)

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.