Hundreds of visitors gather to celebrate Hertfordshire’s wildlife at Tarmac-owned Panshanger Park
DESPITE wet weather, the ‘Festival of Wildlife’ attracted almost 2,000 people to Panshanger Park, near Hertford, on 27–28 July to discover and celebrate wildlife. The event was held by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust in association with Hertfordshire Natural History Society and in partnership with Tarmac, owners of the park.
The free family-friendly festival offered walks and expert talks for children and adults, conservation demonstrations and children’s activities. There was also a chance to meet some of the residents of Hertfordshire’s rivers at the Chalk Stream Discovery Zone, as well as the opportunity to have a close look at some of Panshanger’s longhorn herd that was recently featured on BBC Countryfile.
In addition, the Herts Invertebrate Project and the British Naturalists Association organized mini-beast hunts to spot and record wildlife around the festival. Everyone was encouraged to report their wildlife sightings across the park, with one family’s mini-beast hunt resulting in the discovery of a new species for Panshanger Park: the hazel leaf-rolling weevil beetle – a Hertfordshire rarity that was found by a child using a sweep net.
Panshanger Park is a former sand and gravel quarry and Tarmac, who own the park and hosted the festival, offered visitors a chance to discover the ‘Lifecycle of a Quarry’ through a tractor tour. The tour showed how mineral extraction took place at Panshanger Quarry, from the extraction process to the award-winning restoration.
Stuart Wykes, director of land and natural resources at Tarmac, said: ‘It was fantastic to see so many people. We were really proud to show them the wide and diverse range of fauna and flora thriving at Panshanger, a reflection of the high-quality habitats that have been created and allowed to establish through our stewardship and carefully planned, award-winning restoration.’
Agneta Burton, chair of Hertfordshire Natural History Society, said: ‘Panshanger Park provides a wonderful opportunity to see how species are responding to management and so many visitors are learning about the fantastic diversity of plants and animals at the site. The Festival of Wildlife is a great event to show people the history and wildlife importance of this great site.’