Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust - 30 days wild
PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:58 21 June 2016
This month Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is challenging us to go wild. Back for its second year, its 30 Days Wild campaign aims to make people happier, healthier and more connected to nature by doing something wild every day in June
Hertfordshire has a wonderfully varied landscape; from farmland in the north of the county to wetlands in the centre and chalk grasslands to the west. This variety of lush landscapes supports a wide range of wildlife. The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has put together its top five June activities in the county to help you get out exploring as part of the national Wildlife Trust 30 Days Wild campaign.
Beautiful butterflies at Aldbury Nowers
The warm south-facing slopes of Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve, near Tring in the west of the county, host the small but beautiful flowers of chalk grassland including common milkwort, common rock rose, clustered bellflower and lady’s bedstraw. The reserve is also one of the finest butterfly habitats in Hertfordshire with marbled whites, green hairstreak, brown argus, Essex skippers, and the scarce grizzled and dingy skippers.
Walk the chalk river at Waterford Heath
Chalk rivers are globally rare and it is estimated that there are fewer than 200 in the world, the vast majority of which are found in southern England. The river Beane that runs close by Waterford Heath Naure Reserve, near Hertford, is one of the many chalk rivers that run through Hertfordshire. The newly-opened Chalk Stream and Heath Walk takes in the best of the heathland reserve and the nearby river Beane and Waterford Marsh. Chalk rivers like the Beane are formed in areas of underlying chalk geology and the pure, crystal waters support a diverse ecosystem. Look out for kingfishers darting past and keep an eye on the river banks and you might spot a water vole.
Flying dragons in Amwell
Amwell Nature Reserve, near Ware, is one of the best spots in the county to see dragonflies. The Dragonfly Trail is open from May to September and gives an opportunity to see the hairy dragonfly, red-eyed damselfly and southern hawker close up and hunting over open water. All 19 species of dragonfly and damselfly resident in Hertfordshire have been recorded here, making this the county’s best site for these fascinating and spectacular insects. Amwell Nature Reserve is a former gravel pit in the Lee Valley and along with being a great place to spot dragonflies, also supports internationally important numbers of wintering wildfowl, along with outstanding communities of breeding birds.
Awesome orchids at Blagrove Common
Blagrove Common, near Buntingford, is one of the few remaining areas of unimproved marshy grassland in Hertfordshire. It is bisected by a stream and varies from marshy to dry neutral grassland. The marshy areas are dominated by rushes and tufted hairs grass. Among these, large numbers of early marsh, southern marsh and common spotted orchids and a variety of their hybrids can be found. These beautiful orchids make a stunning backdrop to a walk on this great reserve.
Living monuments at Panshanger Park
Among the many ancient trees at Panshanger Park, near Hertford, one in particular stands very proud. The Panshanger Oak, rumoured to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth 1, is a majestic tree that is easily accessible by the Oak Trail, which was opened last year. The trail starts in the middle of the park and takes you around the Panshanger Great Oak, Orangery and the site where Panshanger House once stood and from where there are magnificent views across the park.
These five are just some of the great things that Herts has to offer this June. There are plenty more events and suggested activities on our website, hertswildlifetrust.org. But whatever you do this June – make it wild!