The opening up of the next phase of the park will be marked by the delivery of a new 2 kilometre long trail.
The Oak Trail will offer public access to the iconic 450 - 500 year old Panshanger Great Oak – reportedly planted by Queen Elizabeth I. Like many of the 50 very old trees listed in “Great British Trees”, this ancient specimen is potentially quite fragile, so work is being carried out to make sure that members of the public can safely enjoy its multicoloured splendours throughout the year.
The new Oak Trail will start at Riverside Cottage and take in the old 19th century waterwheel, which used to pump water up to the original Panshanger House. The half way point will be the woodland – where the 450+ year old Panshanger Great Oak can be seen. The tree is being surrounded by a traditional iron estate fence – not only to protect the health and safety of visitors – but also to protect the health of this vulnerable old tree.
From the oak, the trail continues past the orangery to the footprint of the original Panshanger House. This site offers spectacular views of the River Mimram across Humphry Repton’s Broadwater.
The company is marking the opening of this exciting new trail with an Open Day on Sunday 12th July. From 11am - 3pm, company staff and volunteers will be on hand to explain the background and history of the park and provide light refreshments.
As a one-off only opportunity, visitors will be able to access the park via the Thieves Lane car park (Thieves Lane just off the A414, closest postcode SG14 2WN) and Lady Hughes’ Wood, to leave their vehicles in a temporary car park in the field next to Riverside Cottage. Visitors are welcome to walk to all other open areas of the park, but are asked to move their cars from the field by 5pm. Thieves Lane car park will remain open all day.
From the car park, visitors should allow a leisurely hour to complete the Oak Trail loop. The path is surfaced but is not suitable for wheelchairs.
Michael Charlton, Restoration Manager for Panshanger Park says the company is delighted to be opening the Oak Trail as the first of several themed trails across the park. He hopes visitors will appreciate both the quality of the specially selected materials and the style of approach the company is taking as it opens up this historic heartland of the park. For example, timbers from trees on site are being used for information signs and benches. Moving forward, the timber for waymarker and fence posts and informal pick areas will all be harvested from the site. This approach forms part of the company’s plans to develop a sustainable woodland management policy across the park.
Other trails will be opened up during the summer and Lafarage Tarmac is looking forward to working with all its partners to develop a sustainable park – to be enjoyed by both the general public and those with specialist interests.
The company’s aim is to make sure that by the beginning of the school holidays, all visitors to the park will be able to enjoy the wider public access and enhanced interpretation.
For more information see the Events page.