THIEVES LANE CAR PARK CLOSURE, MESSAGE FROM THE ESTATES MANAGER:
“We have taken the decision to close Thieves Lane Car Park at Panshanger. The park will remain open to pedestrians but given the advice from the UK Government on social distancing we thought it appropriate to close the car park especially given the fact that the car park was incredibly busy over the weekend, resulting in lots of people gathering on one place”.
February 2020: Snowdrops in Panshanger Park Woods
Latest Access Map from Tarmac
Click on the map above to enlarge it. You can save a PDF version of it here: Tarmac 2019 map.
The map above includes the new paths opened in 2019. You can now walk east-west across the park, from Panshanger Lane to Thieves Lane along a level path. There is no usable route marking to guide walkers (as yet) and as there are several route options on the eastern side it can be a bit confusing at first. From the east just keep walking west, keeping the river and lake close to your left hand side, you will eventually reach Riverside Cottage and can continue from there. Do not be afraid of the long horn cattle which may be grazing, they are fairly docile creatures and won’t bother you. Do not bother them of course, dogs must be kept on a lead around cattle, as is the rule anywhere.
Our AGM – 2nd July 2019
The Friends Group held it’s AGM on the 2nd of July. It was lovely summer evening, we sat in the park looking out at the wonderful view from where the house once stood. Our committee was duly elected and after an informative update from Kate and Geoff we all enjoyed a picnic as the sun went down. We still have one or two places on our committee, we would welcome anyone with a passion for the park and it’s environs to get in touch with for a chat about how you might be able to help.
PUBLIC ACCESS UPDATE MAY 25th 2019
Finally, the Mimram Valley path opens on June 24th!
The Friends of Panshanger Park and the WGC Society have recently been campaigning very hard to get route between WGC and Hertford, across the Mimram Valley finally opened. The drive overall is to push Tarmac to fulfill their obligation to open the park in full.
Below is a photo of some of the attendees on our celebratory walk which took place the day that Mirmam Valley path opened.
In recent weeks our group had met with Tarmac management, and we have invited MP Grant Shapps along to the park, again, to see the closed off path. Grant has been very supportive of our cause, also raising the matter with Tarmac himself.
Tarmac have now given a date of June 24th 2019 for the opening of the East -West valley path.
We are very pleased and encouraged that this is now going to happen. Pleased because we have been asking for it to open for about 5 years, and encouraged as it shows that Tarmac are listening to local communities who want to access the park in full. This is a very welcome step forward along the way to the full restoration of the former gravel workings into a beautiful County Park and nature reserve that we can all enjoy.
The opening of the path will allow people from Welwyn Garden City and Hertford to easily walk through the mostly level and stunning valley alongside the Mimram. The picture below shows the path, the section in red will open on the 24th June.
The route serves as the key access route into the park from Welwyn Garden City and offers the wonderful views of the Grade II* listed landscape to the visitor.
Tarmac have issued a press release about the opening, you can read it here:
This welcome news is also being covered in our local press. The Welwyn and Hatfield Times has a story about it here:
And the Hertfordshire Mercury here:
We look forward to walkers being able to access this new route for probably the first time in living memory. We urge all park users to access this and the other permissive routes responsibly, especially with regard to dogs and litter, as the saying goes “Leave only footprints”.
IMPORTANT PUBLIC ACCESS UPDATE – JAN 1st 2018
(Click on above link to open access map as full pdf)
UPDATE JUNE 2018
Latest request from HCC to TARMAC in letter of 8 JUNE 2018 below. Tarmac have so far declined to reply to HCC or action any requests to improve public access and facilities. Another summer passes without full Country Park access and the delivery of the facilities Tarmac are legally obliged to give back. The quarrying profits have been taken away of course.
UPDATE MARCH 2018
HCC John Wood, Chief Executive letter of Nov 2017 was finally responded to on 12th February 2018.
The above letter left many questions unanswered and unclear. It is for the planning authority (HCC) to ensure that the full public benefit – enshrined in the 1980’s Legal Agreement & Planning Permissions – is delivered. A fully opened and wardened Country Park with all the facilities the owner is obliged to deliver.
IMPORTANT UPDATE DECEMBER 2017
If you would like to better understand why a Country Park at Panshanger is overdue to the people of Hertfordshire. Please read our Friends of Panshanger – Assessment document below. It is a detailed assessment of the Tarmac Country Park draft plan, delivered earlier this year to Herts County Council (HCC). A detailed plan that was first asked for in 1982. The country park should have first opened its gates 1989 (see HCC press release).
Twenty eight years later the public still waits for the full opening of the Country Park and its facilities. Also see letters sent to Tarmac by HCC over the last 4 years. We leave you to judge progress. The Friends of Panshanger Park now assume full access to the Country Park area from 1st January 2018, in line with the ending of mineral extraction on the Panshanger Estate. A new permission to import inert restoration minerals was granted to Tarmac by HCC (prior to opening of the full Country Park) or even getting a plan. Estimated value of this new permission is £4-8 million over 10 years. But still no toilets at the Country Park, one car park for a 800+ acre park, no refreshments facilities, no disabled access parking, no public fishing, poor way-marking, no plan to restore the Orangery.
We now also have the ignominy of an English Heritage Grade II* landscape, designed by Humphry Repton, being added to this years Historic England – Heritage at Risk List. Due to poor restoration and management practices adopted by the owners and on the eve of national celebrations of Repton’s 300th anniversary in 2018.
CLICK LINKS TO OPEN DOCUMENT
We are pleased to confirm SUCCESS and that following the local and national campaign to save Repton’s Broadwater at Panshanger Park.
Tarmac have announced they will not excavate the Lower Broadwater. THANK YOU to everyone who has campaigned for this and to Tarmac for reaching this final decision.
Friends of Panshanger Park Annual General Meeting to be held on Wednesday, 7th December, 2016 starting at 7pm at Brace Room, St Mary’s Church, Hertingfordbury.
A team of committed volunteers working on your behalf.
Panshanger Park needs YOUR HELP PLEASE ACT NOW!
Repton’s design for the Broadwater (below right) is in imminent danger of being destroyed and we need your support to help protect it. Please download and share this link/leaflet and do email your views and concerns. Thank you for your support.
Please note, the annotated photo below is supplied to the Friends of Panshanger Park for the sole purpose of showing the effect of further proposed extraction in the area of the Broadwater. It must not to be used for any other purposes, or by any other parties, without the specific written consent of David Neal: email@example.com
CLICK IMAGES TO EXPAND (see *below re photo copyright)
This aerial photograph shows the large expanses of water that have been created in the valley as gravel has been extracted over recent years.
Repton’s Broadwater at the western end of the park (bottom of photo left) has been retained more or less intact but now Tarmac proposes to destroy the lower Broadwater by breaching the narrow strip of land between it and the lagoon they have already created to the south
Is it really worth destroying part of our national heritage in order to extract a few more tons of gravel? The Friends of Panshanger Park thinks not and is campaigning hard to protect what remains of Repton’s vision. Please send your views to the Tarmac Estates Manager firstname.lastname@example.org cc email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
THANK YOU!! for your vital support
YOUR COUNTRY PARK
In order to gain extraction rights from Hertfordshire County Council in the 1980’s, the park owners, now Lafarge Tarmac, entered into a legal agreement to restore the country park to the original historically significant landscape with open public access for everyone to enjoy
Over time, some of the restorative work has been completed by the owners though not necessarily to the expected landscaping standards needed to preserve the historical integrity of the designs of Repton and Brown. In addition there remains limited access for to public and a large amount of unecessary fencing around footpaths and bridleways. This includes a 2m high x 60m long close boarded fence which takes away a stunning heritage landscape view across the valley. A view which is shown in the Friends website banner and was destroyed by the owners in Autumn 2014, the Friends continue to campaign for removal of this fence, which has never been justified by the owners in terms of why it is needed to protect wildlife areas around this area.
Today there is mounting momentum for the present owners to honour their legal commitments of restoration and public access. The Friends of Panshanger Park (The FPP) formed in 2013 to representing multiple local organisations and individual memebrs who wish to see our Country Park delivered in line with the original planning obligations.
We are a member of the Open Spaces Society, more here: