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Hertfordshire County Council

We’ve developed and delivered many land management projects, on sites ranging from small village ponds to large public parks.

Below are some examples of current and past projects:

Current projects

Cedar Close weir bypass channel

The Cedar Close weir bypass channel project will contribute to the restoration of the river Beane, a globally rare chalk river. The project is a partnership between East Herts Council, the Environment Agency and the Countryside Management Service. The objectives of the project include:

  • To enable fish and eel passage along the river Beane in Hertford.
  • To reduce impoundment of the river and promote natural flow conditions.
  • To enhance habitats along the river channel.
  • To improve Millmead open space alongside the river.


A project update in April 2022 identified that removal of Cedar Close weir was under consideration. However, following the collection of additional survey information to inform our flood modelling, we have concluded that there are too many risks associated with this option to proceed further with it. These risks include the need for mitigation of a small increase in downstream flood risk, and the impact on water levels in the mill stream.

We have now confirmed that our preferred option to achieve the objectives of the project is a bypass channel within Millmead open space. The details of this proposal are summarised in the Cedar Close weir project engagement document.

Active travel

The Active Travel project recognises the value of Hertfordshire’s 3000km rights of way network, identifying paths that could be improved to enable everyday active travel. It also builds on the well-established relationships we have with our district partners to identify active travel opportunities on land that they own.

The focus of the project during its first year is to identify and prioritise schemes that will increase the shift from motorised to non-motorised transport and where improvements can be achieved quickly. Schemes will be specified and costed to the point of being “spade ready”. The project will also develop a portfolio of schemes for strategic routes, which could be delivered in the future with further work or investment.

Some ‘ready to go’ projects have already been or are being delivered:

The Active Travel Project is funded initially for 12 months until August 2020 by Local Transport Plan (LTP4)’s Sustainable Transport Fund. LTP4 defines 'active travel' as physically active journeys such as walking or cycling, representing safe and efficient non-motorised transport. The benefits of active travel are well documented in LTP4 and our Active Travel Strategy (PDF 1.3mb).

Two male cyclists on a country path

Castle Park, Bishop's Stortford

Working in partnership with East Herts Council and Bishop’s Stortford Town Council, we have prepared new designs for Castle Park in Bishop’s Stortford. We have successfully obtained a grant from the National Lottery towards a £2.6m investment in this town centre greenspace.

Our proposals will enhance wildlife along the River Stort, protect the remnants of Waytemore Castle whilst improving public access and seek to discover lost archaeology. The community buildings will be refurbished to include the addition of a café and public toilets, including a new Changing Places unit. There will also be exciting upgrades to the sports facilities, with new tennis courts and an updated teenage space.

We are encouraging community involvement in the project and have established the Friends of Castle Park, who are now active in setting up a range of events in the park. A new and expanding programme of Health Walks has also been set up.   

Castle Park in Bishop's Stortford

Reviving disused railway routes

There are miles of redundant railway lines across Hertfordshire, which have the potential to help people to travel without using their cars.  

We have been working on projects to revive disused railway corridors for both people and wildlife. Projects undertaken include the St Albans sections of the Alban Way and Nickey Line and the Cole Green Way, which links Welwyn Garden City with Hertford.

On the Alban Way, we have so far secured more than £165,000 of funding towards improvements. Works have included resurfacing, access improvements, vegetation management, restoration of old historic features and installation of signage and interpretation panels.

 Non-motorised transport corridors

Broxbourne Woods National Nature Reserve

Broxbourne and Bencroft Woods form part of Hertfordshire's only National Nature Reserve.

We have managed these sites since 2009, focusing on finding a balance between enhancing the valuable wildlife habitats and encouraging recreational use. We have:

  • reintroduced elements of commercial forestry
  • begun a project to restore an area of heathland / wood pasture through conifer removal and grazing
  • enhanced the visitor experience through footpath and car park improvements and an easy access sculpture trail
  • secured investments from the Forestry Commission, Natural England and SITA Trust.
  • enabled volunteers to contribute extensively to the management of the woodland
  • used the site as a model with far reaching benefits to other woodlands across Hertfordshire.

Broxbourne Woods National Nature Reserve

Past case studies

Broxbourne Woods Restoration Project

Around 97% of Hertfordshire's heathland has been lost in the last 100 years.

Our wood wardens and practical conservation volunteers have maintained two small healthy glades in Broxbourne Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest. This project aims to secure their future and restore a significantly larger area to heathland and grass.

Over 15 years from winter 2011, we aim to gradually remove trees to create a more open, wood-pasture feel. We'll fell trees every second year and manage the resulting regrowth during the alternate years. We'll introduce a small number of British cattle to graze the developing heathland and acid grassland.

Project timeline and more information


Bentsley Spinney welcoming woodland wildlife project

Working in partnership with St. Albans City and District Council, we secured the following grants for a programme of improvements at Bentsley Spinney:

  • £15,637 from the Lafarge Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund
  • £1,100 from Sandridge Parish Council
  • £500 from Hertfordshire County Councillor, Geoff Churchard’s locality budget.

Between June 2015 and May 2016, we delivered the action plan items outlined in years one and two of the Bentsley Spinney Greenspace Action Plan 2014 – 2019.

Project timeline and more information

Bentsley Spinney

Bovingdon Green Pond

Bovingdon Green Pond was in a poor state of health, shaded by dense vegetation and filled with silt and debris.

In 2010, with the help and sponsorship of a number of organisations, we started a project to rejuvenate the pond and return it to a wildlife-rich environment by:

  • clearing vegetation
  • dredging the pond of all silt and leaf litter
  • building a footpath and steps to the pond
  • installing wooden bollards along the roadside boundary
  • installing two new benches.

Project timeline and more information

Pond reshaping Bovingdon Pond

Broxbourne & Bencroft Woods – car park refurbishment works

We developed plans for a major refurbishment of the car parks at Broxbourne and Bencroft Woods National Nature Reserve.

The works were completed between August 2013 and February 2014 with funding from Hertfordshire County Council and the Forestry Commission.

Project timeline and information

Car park at Broxbourne

Butt's Close Pond, Hitchin

Everything’s blooming at Butt's Close in Hitchin now it's been given a thorough makeover. The pond has been transformed from a characterless hole in the ground to a wildlife haven by:

  • creating shallow edges and planting them with attractive species like water mint, marsh marigold and purple loosestrife
  • installing a floating hydroponic reed bed filter to improve water quality by removing nutrients
  • cutting and collecting grass around the pond annually, to allow it to grow longer
  • pollarding two nearby willows to create vigorous new growth and extend their life
  • reducing and reshaping the crown of a nearby weeping willow to cut down the shade and leaves that it casts on the pond
  • planting new native tree and shrub beds to provide cover and food for birds.

The work was funded by North Hertfordshire District Council and the Landfill Community Fund through Groundwork Hertfordshire.

Project timeline and information


Composers Park in Harmony project

With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Hertsmere Borough Council, we completed a programme of improvements in December 2014

After receiving positive feedback from a consultation with the local community, we gave this site a much needed conservation boost by:

  • installing a new interpretation panel
  • hiring local artists to create a specially-designed gateway
  • planting hedgerows
  • creating a new pond
  • thinning trees in crowded areas
  • building natural play equipment.

Project rationale and project works map.

Project timeline and information


Home Wood, Cuffley

Northaw and Cuffley Parish Council approached us for advice on the care and management of this ancient, semi-natural woodland.

We helped the parish to write and review a management plan to care for Home Wood, enhance its wildlife value and promote it as an open space for quiet enjoyment.

We also helped them to apply for various grants, including the Forestry Commission's English Woodland Grant Scheme. Under this scheme, the parish claims an annual grant for path cutting, tree safety inspections and other conservation work. These grants have helped to pay for:

  • boardwalks along muddy pathways, to provide year-round access for visitors
  • removal of invasive sycamore to favour regeneration of native broadleaves like oak and hornbeam.

Project timeline and information

Men on wooden walkway Home Wood

Oughtonhead Common wetland creation and restoration works

Between January 2014 and June 2015, we completed a range of wetland enhancement works on behalf of North Hertfordshire Distric Council, to restore this habitat for wildlife and improve access for visitors.

Using funding from various organisations, we:

  • created a new interpretation and viewing platform
  • installed an archway sculpture
  • removed reeds from sections of the river
  • created new ponds
  • cut back scrub from ditches and removed silt from ditches.

Project timeline and information

Oughtonhead Common entrance sign

Pix Brook watercourses project

In October 2014, we completed a project to improve the watercourses of the Pix Brook, which flows through Norton Common Local Nature Reserve in Letchworth.

The watercourses were heavily shaded with steep bank edges, channel blockages and an outdated concrete infrastructure.

We have reduced erosion and flooding, enhanced biodiversity and improved access for visitors by:

  • cutting back overhanging trees
  • removing concrete from the watercourse
  • planting marsh marigold, iris and loosestrife
  • reprofiling the bank edges and reinforcing them with gabion baskets
  • creating pedestrian and vehicle bridges.

Project outline and map of project locations.

Project timeline and information

Practical volunteers planting wetland plants at Pix Brook, Norton Common

Purwell conservation project

In December 2014, we completed a £58,400 project to help North Hertfordshire District Council meet their Green Infrastructure objectives by:

  • improving wetland habitats
  • restoring hedgerows and damaged fencing
  • reprofiling riverbanks
  • installing facilities to assist birds, wildflowers and grazing animals
  • improving access points and installing new signage and interpretation panels

Project rationale and project works map.

Project timeline and information

Wildflowers and river Purwell Meadows

Verulamium Park access & interpretation project

Between 2013 and 2015, we worked with St Albans City and District Council to help visitors find their way around the park and learn about Verulamium’s history and wildlife. Contracted works included:

  • installing distinctive black and grey fingerposts
  • creating full-colour map-based information boards
  • installing a number of interpretation panels across the park
  • making a new leaflet for visitors.

Project timeline and information

Verulamium Park

Weston Hills project

This project was completed in August 2014.

Weston Hills in Baldock is a county wildlife site with a lovely mix of habitats, including beech woodland and chalk grassland, which is a priority biodiversity action plan habitat for the county.

We worked with Hertfordshire County Council's Rural Estate and North Herts District Council to develop and implement a 5-year management plan, aiming to restore these habitats and make improvements for visitors, including:

  • creating new steps
  • installing interpretation boards around the site
  • building new fences
  • introducing sheep and longhorn cows for grazing
  • thinning and coppicing trees.

Find out more about the project:

Project timeline and information

Longhorn cows Weston Hills



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Contact the Countryside Management Service

01992 588433

Countryside Management Service Office (Car Park H)
Environment Department (CHG001)
County Hall
SG13 8DN




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