This afternoon I visited 'Panshanger Park'.
This is next to the A414 in Hertfordshire, between the historic county town of Hertford and Welwyn Garden City (not actually a city).
The park is jointly managed by 'Tarmac' and Hertfordshire County Council (which is due in part to Tarmac being allowed to operate some quarrying on the grounds which have now been returned to flat open pastureland).
This links to the 'Tarmac' own site on the area.
Besides visiting for a lovely walk through the park and it's very varied habitats (I recommend going during the week as it seems quite busy on weekends) I also wanted to locate and photograph the 'Panshanger Great Oak'
So I parked in the car park just off the A414 (turn at the roundabout onto Thieves Lane - I'm sure that probably has a story all of it's own!) and walked along the 'permitted path' to where I knew the Oak to be.
The paths are all reasonably level with very little incline, but can be quite pebble-strewn and/or muddy in places so suitable footwear is recommended. There are a number of clear signs showing you where you are and what the rules are regarding using the park.
After walking for about 25 minutes I found the Oak.
It is estimated to be between 450 and 500 years old
and it is the largest maiden, or clear-stemmed oak, in the country and is believed to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth I.
Many other Oaks around the country have been grown using acorns from this tree.
Here are 3 pictures.
Also, I waffle some more about the park, down the page below these pics....
Also in the park are some wandering cattle (cows and sheep) but I didn't see any today (remember to shut the gates behind you!)
And the River Mimram flows through the park too.
The Mimram itself is distinguished as being a 'Chalk Stream' (link to info
) (Chalk streams are rivers that rise from springs in landscapes with chalk bedrock. Since chalk is permeable, water percolates easily through the ground to the water table and chalk streams therefore receive little surface runoff. As a result, the water in the streams contains little organic matter and sediment and is generally very clear).
Today it was indeed very clear and cool - there is an area shaded by trees which has been specially created with a large, level gravel bed to allow you take your hot dogs (no not that sort!)
into to cool down.
I believe that the UK is home to 85% of all the chalk streams in the world. The unique way in which they form and flow meant that UK had the ideal habitats for some species of Salmon to spawn in, and for the farming of watercress.
There are no toilets in the park.
There is one refreshment stand that does drinks but I think that is only there on weekends and holidays. It wasn't there today.
There are a number of different routes you can take through the park allowing for shorter or longer walks.
And Oooh.....I think I can feel a bit of sunburn....silly me!