Over 1,200 people came together on Saturday to celebrate the wildlife of Hertfordshire and Middlesex. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, in partnership with Tarmac and in association with The Hertfordshire Natural History Society, held the Festival of Wildlife at Panshanger Park near Hertford. Sadly, due to high winds forecast on the Sunday, the second day of the festival had to be cancelled for safety reasons.
The free festival offered guided walks and expert talks by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Tarmac and Hertfordshire Natural History Society, as well as a whole host of conservation activities. Visitors enjoyed birdwatching with Herts Bird Club, getting up close to the special wildlife of the beautiful Mimram River, minibeast hunting and children were delighted with story-telling and craft activities.
Panshanger quarry finished mineral extraction last year and at the focus is currently on restoration works. Tarmac, who own the park and kindly hosted the Festival, offered visitors the rare chance to take a Lifecycle of a Quarry Tractor Tour. The tour took in the operational areas and then moved on to show the outstanding restoration of past quarry sites and the array of wildlife now thriving there.
This year local conservation organisations joined arts and craft traders that visitors could talk to and buy local produce from and delicious food was available in addition to beer and gin from the Trust’s partners Farr Brew and Puddingstone Distillery.
Lesley Davies, Chief Executive of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust said: “It was wonderful to see so many people at the Festival learning and being inspired about wildlife as well as enjoying their visit to the Park. I would like to make a special mention of our wonderful volunteers who helped out from identifying birds and bugs, to running children’s activities and welcoming visitors”
Stuart Wykes, Director of Land & Natural Resources, Tarmac, said: “We’re delighted so many people chose to come to another successful Festival of Wildlife. Tarmac really value the opportunity to showcase the award winning restoration work we’re undertaking at Panshanger Park, as well as allowing people to see a working quarry up close. It was a shame nature had other ideas on Sunday but we’re already looking forward to next year’s event.”
Agneta Burton, Chair of Hertfordshire Natural History Society, said: “It was a real pleasure to see and talk to enthusiastic visitors about some of the plants and animals they saw on the site and hearing about what they find in their gardens: a lot of genuine natural history interest!”