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Hertfordshire County Council

Countryside Management Service projects


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

Castle Park, Bishop's Stortford

After securing an initial £250,000 from the National Lottery, we are working with East Herts Council and Bishop's Stortford Town Council to develop plans for Castle Park.

Our proposal will enhance wildlife along the Stort, seek to discover lost archaeology and will improve access to the castle remnants. We are also looking to upgrade the facilities in the play area for older children to include a new skate park, cafe and toilets. A final application for a further £2m to the National Lottery will allow us to deliver the proposals.

To enhance community involvement, we are setting up the Friends of Castle Park and establishing a new programme of Health Walks running out of the park.    

Castle Park in Bishop's Stortford

Non-motorised transport corridors

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, with works planned for the Cole Green Way, linking 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

Flood risk management

We work in partnership with district councils and the Environment Agency to implement flood risk management projects.

We are managing a project at Scotsbridge Mill in Rickmansworth to design a river restoration scheme for Three Rivers District Council. We led a procurement exercise and appointed consultants to to carry out the specialist work involved.

Once agreed and redesigned, the scheme will:

  • reduce flood risk and maintenance costs
  • enable fish passage
  • improve the ecological status of the river
  • add value to the local community. 

Scotsbridge Mill

 

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

broxbourne-wood-surviving-heathland

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


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.

More detail about the project


butts-close-floating-reedbed

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


composers-park-hedge-planting

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.


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


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 infastructure.

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


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


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


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


Longhorn cows Weston Hills

 

 

Contact the Countryside Management Service

northeast.cms@hertfordshire.gov.uk

01992 588433

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

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