Thousands celebrate the wildlife of Hertfordshire at Panshanger Park festival
A two-day wildlife festival at a Welwyn Garden City country park was a roaring success.
An estimated 3,000 people came together over the weekend to celebrate the wildlife of Hertfordshire and Middlesex.
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, in partnership with the Hertfordshire Natural History Society, held the Festival of Wildlife in Panshanger Park on Saturday and Sunday.
Hosted by Tarmac, the free festival celebrated the fantastic variety of wildlife in Hertfordshire and Middlesex.
It offered guided walks and expert talks by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and Hertfordshire Natural History Society, as well as a whole host of conservation activities.
Visitors enjoyed bird watching with Herts Bird Club, getting up-close to the special wildlife of the beautiful Mimram River, and mini-beast hunting.
Children at Panshanger Park’s Forest School were delighted to find a mud kitchen, tree cookie trolls and magic wand making.
Lesley Davies, chief executive of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “We had a fantastic weekend at the Festival of Wildlife. We were thrilled to see visitor numbers double from last year and welcome so many new faces to a Trust event.
“The festival has hugely grown in success and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing volunteers, our partner, the Hertfordshire Natural History Society, and kind hosting from Tarmac.”
She added: “The festival really showcased the incredible wildlife we have all around us and we hope to welcome individuals and families to many more of our future events.
“It was wonderful to see so many children getting close to nature.”
This year a Discovery Area was added to the festival, where children could learn more about the wildlife around them through a mammal talk, wild story time and Animal Olympics, and local conservation groups were invited to talk to visitors about bees, bats, badgers and hedgehogs.
Agneta Burton, chair of Hertfordshire Natural History Society, said: “We were delighted with the amount of visitors to this year’s festival.
“Our talks were very well attended and so many people were asking questions and were really interested in their local wildlife.
“The talks and activities feed directly in the Natural History Society’s aims of promoting the study and recording of wildlife in Hertfordshire, while encouraging a wider interest in natural history.
“It was a joy to watch so many children get excited about finding bugs, learning about mammals, bird ringing and identifying our local river wildlife. We’re looking forward to the next festival.”
Panshanger Park is an active quarry site and Tarmac, which owns the park, offered visitors the chance to take a ‘Lifecycle of a Quarry’ tractor tour.
This took in an active quarry site and then moved on to show the restoration of past quarry sites and the array of wildlife now thriving there.
Stuart Wykes, Tarmac’s director of land and natural resources, said: “We are proud of our stewardship of the park and the carefully planned, award-winning restoration to agriculture, wetland and nature conservation, which is still being delivered through the final stages of gravel extraction, and hope that visitors over the weekend enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of the park and will visit again soon.”