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Pretty parks to visit in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 13:14 26 June 2018

Watford Borough Councils Head of Parks has written a new book about British parks (photo: Deborah Brady)

Watford Borough Councils Head of Parks has written a new book about British parks (photo: Deborah Brady)

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Whether you’re looking for tranquility, space for the kids, or to get fit, a website packed with info on Herts’ green spaces will help. Countryside Management Service’s Isabel Crozier picks her favourites

As part of Hertfordshire’s Year of Physical Activity, July has been designated ‘parks month’. And with more than 140 council-owned parks and open spaces in the county there is a huge amount of green space to explore.

It’s easier than ever to explore these places, thanks to ParksHerts. The website, parksherts.co.uk, has filters based on activities offered. So, whether it’s to let the kids run around, walk the dog, relax in nature or get fit – ParksHerts will help. Each park listed also includes the facilities on offer, such as walking, cycling and running routes; historical and wildlife guides; activity trails; local events and maps to help you make the most of your visit. Here’s just a small selection from the site to inspire you:

For the kids

Cassiobury Park, Watford

A haven for children, the playground includes the usual slides and swings but also a granite maze, paddling pools, miniature railway and a zip wire. There is also a

designated Local Nature Reserve (above) featuring a special circular trail.

Verulamium Park, St Albans

Children will love the splash park and play area, while all ages will enjoy both the golf course and crazy golf. The park is a haven for wildlife and rich in biodiversity. You can also see the ruined Roman city walls and a 1,800-year-old hypocaust.

Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead

This has something for everyone. It includes a listed excavated and reinterred Roman archaeological site, a play area and the Field of Hope daffodil display. Attractions include bowling greens, a crazy golf course, petanque, croquet, giant chess and draughts, play area, skatepark with a new splash park opening this summer!

Broxbourne Woods

Part of Hertfordshire’s only National Nature Reserve and recognised as a Special Area of Conservation of European importance, the woods are home to a host of wildlife including iconic species such as purple emperor, great crested newt and the newly returned woodcock. The woods contain protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest with one area undergoing significant restoration to a more open landscape with grazing animals. Explore the site by following a lovely sculpture trail.

Picnic spots

Barclay Park

This Green Flag accredited park is on a gentle hillside overlooking an ornamental lake. The active Friends of Barclay Park has been successful in attracting Heritage Lottery Funding used to restore the lake and create new habitats, as well as delivering educational activities to local schools. After your picnic go for a walk on the Tree Trail to help digest that one- pork-pie-too-many.

Weston Hills, Baldock

A common destination for walkers, the area is of archaeological interest due to ancient cultivation terraces and chalk workings. There’s a profusion of wildflowers on the open grassland, while the woodland attracts numerous bird species – a magical surrounding for your picnic.

Bushey Rose Garden

This tranquil enclosed space includes a sunken garden, with fountain and rose beds, a lawn surrounded by mixed borders, and a rose walk. You will be surrounded by more than 40 varieties of roses among 4,000 different plants, a pergola and summer house.

Activities

The ParksHerts events pages are packed with health activities in parks across the county, including guided walks, exercise classes such as yoga and bootcamp, and activities aimed at children and young people.

5km Parkruns are held at 9am every Saturday in many of the parks. They’re free to enter and, regardless of age or fitness, you’re always welcome to walk, jog or run. For young runners, 2km Junior Parkruns take place at 9am on Sunday mornings in some locations.

Hertfordshire Health Walks offer a countywide programme of free, volunteer-led walks and are a great way of getting to know an area and meet new people.

If getting your hands dirty is more your scene, come along to Oxhey Woods on the first and third Sunday of each month, or Croxley Common Moor on the second Sunday of each month for their friends group volunteer sessions and help maintain these beautiful open spaces. There are other groups working across Herts so check your local green space.

For free, fun days out this summer, visit parksherts.co.uk Follow Twitter/ParksHerts or like Facebook/ParksHerts page for daily inspiration, using the hashtag #tryanewParksHerts

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