At Heartwood Forest at Sandridge, near St Albans in Hertfordshire, The Woodland Trust are creating a beautiful broadleaved 850 acre woodland, a natural resource which can support more species than any other land habitat.
The site, in the heart of Hertfordshire’s Green Belt, already boasts 45 acres of precious ancient woodland and is home to many rare butterflies and the protected English bluebell, yet is still just 25 miles from Marble Arch.
By planting an additional 600,000 trees, creating wildflower meadows and laying miles of footpaths and bridleways, the Woodland Trust will create the largest new native forest in England that is within easy reach of millions of people.
When you first arrive at Heartwood Forest, it may seem like the site is only open farmland and that there is not much to look at in terms of woodland. However, there is more there than first meets the eye. There are three blocks of ancient woodland totalling 44 acres. This habitat is the UK’s equivalent of the rainforest, supporting more species that any other UK landscape.
Bluebells in Langley Wood Judith
The ancient woods at Heartwood Forest, are superb examples of oak and hornbeam woodland, and if you visit in the spring you will see impressive displays of bluebells and wood anemones.
If lucky, you may also see buzzards circling above the woods, hunting for food.
There are some new hedges which have been planted, and you will also see some really old hedges containing hazel, field maple, blackthorn and hawthorn which are an important feature for both wildlife and the landscape.
Sloes on Blackthorn Hedge
As you walk around, catch the great views across the poppies back to Sandridge village and the tower of St Leonard church.
A beautiful spot for walking on a sunny day – fields of poppies and ox eye daisies, dappled shade under Langley Wood’s ancient hornbeam trees, and plenty of space to roam, play, and picnic amongst the newly planted areas…keep your eyes peeled for signs of the short eared owls and badgers who call Heartwood home. Shona
St Albans Soroptimists marked World Environment Day with a guided walk for members and friends in Pound Wood, ancient woodland where Heartwood got its name from the heart shaped leaves of the lime trees in that wood
The Catuvellauni Grove regularly meet for seasonal festivals in the ancient woodlands at Heartwood Forest.