Jo Whitaker, Panshanger Park People & Wildlife Officer, looks at summer meadows in the Hertfordshire parkland situated between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford.


Summer has now arrived and these warmer temperatures really kick-started the growth of our summer flowering plants.

Hopefully you’ve been able to enjoy the long light days to go out on some walks to your local green space, especially as we’re still celebrating 30 Days Wild!

If you haven’t already, try to take the opportunity to enjoy what your local wildlife is up to at this time of year.

At Panshanger Park the summer meadows are providing quite a spectacle.

When walking in the north west of the park look across the drive from the big cedar tree by the B1000 and you’ll see a fantastic display of oxeye daisies.

This area up until fairly recently played an important role of the final part of the quarrying process on the site.

The wet sediment removed during quarrying was left to settle out in this area. As it dried, it created a fertile top soil which was then seeded with a wild flower mix.

Now, only a few years later, this area has become a well-developed meadow habitat. 

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Grazing longhorn cattle can help improve grasslands and meadow habitats.Grazing longhorn cattle can help improve grasslands and meadow habitats. (Image: Paul Thrush)

The resident longhorn cattle are likely to have played a part in the success of this year's oxeye daisy bloom.

The cattle were grazing this area over the winter, which helped stop any shrub species taking hold as well as lightly trampling the soil (but not overly so).

This gentle mixing up of the seeds held in the uppermost part of the soil has led to the oxeye daisies enjoying a particularly successful year.

These plants are high in nectar due to the yellow centre actually being made up of lots of small flowers.


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They are valuable to insects that rely on nectar such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies.

These insects in turn play a very important part in pollinating the plants, including those which we rely on for food production.

The Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is not the same as a daisy (Bellis perennis) although the flower heads are very similar.

The Latin name, Leucanthemum, is thought to be named from the ancient Greek word for white, ‘leucos’.

Another name for it is the Moon Daisy as it was dedicated to Artemis, Goddess of the Moon, by the Greeks.

Wildflower meadows are sadly now a rare habitat in the UK.

You can help our pollinators at home by allowing the grass in just part of your garden to grow long - you’ll be amazed at how quickly some flowering species will grow up and attract the pollinators in. 


  • 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.


Welwyn Hatfield Times: ​​Jo Whitaker, Panshanger Park People & Wildlife Officer.​​Jo Whitaker, Panshanger Park People & 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.



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