7 great places to enjoy nature in Hertfordshire

A misty sunrise over fields and trees.

We've put together a list of some great places to enjoy nature in Hertfordshire. - Credit: Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

If there's one thing that lockdown taught us, it is to get out and enjoy the outside world when we can.

Now, thankfully, we are beyond the coronavirus restrictions and outdoor exercise limitations of yesteryear.

What's more, the weather is improving as Spring and Summer approach with promises of warmth and rare bursts of British sunshine.

To help you decide where to explore, we've put together a list of some great places to enjoy nature in Hertfordshire.

1. Hitchin Lavender, Hitchin

Sunflowers and lavender in a sloping field.

Wide fields of lavender can be enjoyed, along with sunflowers and wild flower meadows. - Credit: Google - By Owner

Hitchin Lavender, near Letchworth, is a family run flower farm which is open to explore.

Fields of lavender, sunflower beds and wildflower meadows are available for visitors to wander through.

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Picnics are welcome, and a 'field kitchen' is also present.

A number of footpaths can be accessed, which surround the fields.

2. Batford Springs, Harpenden

The view from a bridge overlooking a river, with trees either side.

Batford Springs Nature Reserve has a number of paths running through trees and wild, grassy areas. - Credit: Google Maps

Batford Springs, in Harpenden, is an 8.5 hectare nature reserve that is open to the general public.

The area is based on a former watercress farm, and contains one of only 200 chalk streams across the globe.

Chalk stream, river, a wild reed fen, wet woodland and meadow habitats are all present within the reserves boundaries.

A play park, woodland boardwalk, riverside path and picnic benches are all available for use.

3. Stanborough Park, Welwyn Garden City

The view of a lake, with two sailing boats on it.

Two lakes are set within the park. - Credit: Google - By Owner

Stanborough Park in Welwyn Garden City, is described as "a beautiful countryside park".

It contains two lakes, and covers an area of 126 acres.

Furthermore, activities such as fishing, nature trails, children's play areas, watersports, model boating, orienteering and bouncy castles can be enjoyed.

The Terranova Restaurant, Stanborough Coffee Shop and snack kiosk are also available for visitors.

4. Norton Common, Letchworth

A wide green field with trees either side.

A mixture of activities for humans to enjoy and natural habitats are present. - Credit: Google - By Owner

Norton Common nature reserve "brings the countryside into the very heart of Letchworth".

Play areas, a skateboard park, an outdoor swimming pool, a picnic area, a pavilion, two bowling greens, a floodlit games area and tennis courts are all available for visitors to use.

A 45 minute nature trail is also present.

The North Herts Council website describes the nature reserve as "a place for people, and wildlife, to enjoy, and is packed full of things to do for people of all ages."

5. Heartwood Forest, Sandridge

A wooden sign reading "The Magical Wood, planted by Disney Store".

A 'Magical Wood' is located at Heartwood Forest. - Credit: Peter O'Connor on Creative Commons

Heartwood Forest in Sandridge, near St Albans, is an 858 acre newly-planted woodland, on what was once agricultural farmland.

Several areas sit within the forest, including the 'Magical Wood' planted by the Disney Store.

Three set walks can be completed around Heartwood Forest, these include the 'Magical Meander', 'Wildlife Meander' and 'Heartwood Hike'.

Ancient woodland, such as Langley Wood, can also be accessed at the site.

6. Panshanger Park, near Welwyn Garden City

A tree, with bluebells and grass around it.

Panshanger Park is a 1,000 acre park between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford. - Credit: Google - By Owner

Panshanger Park is a 1,000 acre park, situated between Hertford and Welwyn Garden City.

The park is owned by Tarmac, who work with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to manage the area for humans and wildlife alike.

A "mosaic of habitats" including wetland, woodland, grassland and reedbeds make up the park.

A variety of trails are available to help visitors navigate the vast landscape.

7. Leavesden Country Park, Abbots Langley

A path running between hedges, with trees either side.

The park boasts 15 points of interest, including an apple orchard and totem pole. - Credit: Google Maps

Leavesden Country Park is a 27 hectare country park in Abbots Langley.

The park boasts 15 points of interest, including an apple orchard and totem pole.

Walking and cycling paths are available, as well as an outdoor gym.

Over 20 acres of natural woodland sits within the parks boundaries.