Wild at Panshanger Park this summer

Panorama over Osprey Lake in the summer sunshine at Panshanger Park

Panorama over Osprey Lake in the summer sunshine at Panshanger Park - Credit: Jo Whitaker

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

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is working with the park's owners, Tarmac, and Herts County Council to manage the park for both people and wildlife.

In her latest monthly column, Jo Whitaker, the Panshanger Park People & Wildlife Officer, looks at what the Hertfordshire park has to offer visitors this summer. 

As summer marches on, strawberries and cream featuring heavily, some sporting events having finished (but we won’t dwell on that!) and others starting, we are now able to enjoy the freedom of the great British summer and the many opportunities it provides for experiencing nature.

At the moment Panshanger Park is looking lovely in full summer mode.

Walking along by the tall vegetation, left deliberately long to encourage the wildflowers to bloom and attract insects, you may see lots of butterflies drifting gracefully yet purposefully between the plants.

Marbled white butterfly feeding on a common knapweed

Marbled white butterfly feeding on a common knapweed - Credit: Supplied by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

At the moment the marbled white – a lovely black-chequered white butterfly – is at its peak in the park.

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It relies on red fescue and sheep’s fescue grasses for laying its eggs, both of which are abundant in the park.

There are lots of newly fledged birds around, still a little unsure on what to do, some optimistically thinking that parents will still feed them when they flutter their wings.

Or if you look up, you may see young swifts screeching their way through the air enjoying their newly developed ability of high-speed flying!

As the school summer holidays are almost upon us, you may be wondering how to keep the younger folk in your life staying wild in the nature sense!

If that’s the case, then get your diaries out as Panshanger Park has got many free family-friendly events coming up throughout July and August.

‘Life at the Lake’ events will be taking place every Tuesday through the holidays and provides an opportunity to discover what lives beneath the surface.

Panorama over Osprey Lake in the summer sunshine at Panshanger Park

Panorama over Osprey Lake in the summer sunshine at Panshanger Park - Credit: Jo Whitaker

There will be a different watery theme each week looking at everything from cool camouflaged creatures to fascinating floating flora.

For those wanting to get stuck in with some conservation work at the park, we have some family volunteering sessions where all generations can get involved in some family-friendly tasks.

There is also the chance to explore what happens after dark at the park with a twilight family event where we will be putting our night senses to the test, listening for bats and looking for moths.

For more information on any of these events please go to hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/events

Or if you would be interested in helping at these types of events, or with conservation work within the park, more information can be found at panshangerpark.tarmac.com/volunteering/ 

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. For more on HMWT, visit hertswildlifetrust.org.uk

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