Panshanger House

Historic Panshanger House was the ancestral home of the Cowper family, you can read a lot more about their chronology on our ‘Potted History’ section on the History menu above. The big house was of course the centre piece of the park and a very significant building. The below description of the house is taken from English Heritage and can be read in full here.

“PRINCIPAL BUILDING Panshanger House (William Atkinson 1806-11, demolished 1953-4) was built on the site of an earlier dwelling and stood in the northern half of the park, at the edge of the north plateau, overlooking the broad River Mimram valley below to the south. It was of two storeys, built in Romantic Gothick style with crenellated parapets, turrets, and several squat towers breaking up the facades (CL). The entrance front lay on the north side, overlooking a level lawn planted with scattered trees, whilst the south, garden front overlooked a broad, open sweep of parkland leading down to Repton’s Broad Water in the Mimram valley, with distant views to countryside beyond the park to the south (OS). Almost nothing of the house survives except possibly the foundations, and the site is overgrown (1999). The brick-built stables (c 1856, now converted to office accommodation, listed grade II) stand north of the site of the house, surrounding a square stable yard on three sides, the fourth, south side being closed by a brick wall with a central gateway. Adjacent to the north lies a farmyard, with brick yard walls, stock pens and outbuildings.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS Panshanger House formerly stood within two wings of enclosed pleasure grounds which extended south-east down the valley side to Garden Wood, and west along the plateau to Poplars Grove. The largely earthwork remains of the formal garden features flank the site of the house to west and east. East of the house site lie the remains of a level, open lawn, formerly bounded to the east by a brick wall (traces of which remain), divided from the site of the house by an area of scrub. This contains the basin of a pool and fountain, formerly aligned on the centre of the east front, which marked the intersection of two paths in cruciform pattern. The basin is surrounded by a ring of overgrown box plants, with specimen yews scattered in the surrounding scrub, together with several mature cedars and pines. Formerly this area and the south terrace were graced by a group of marble vases (P van Baurscheit 1714) brought from the old Cole Green house (CL 1936).”

The below pictures are from the sale catalogue whn the house and contents, including a large art collection, were sold off prior to demolition:

North frontage of the house

North front

Panshanger House south front auction pic

South front


Public Access Rights

From 1st January 2018 mineral extraction has finished on the Panshanger Estate.

This means the full Country Park is now open. This public amenity for Hertfordshire is a legal obligation, in perpetuity, on the landowners. As granted by the Secretary of  State for Environment in 1980 in exchange for valuable mineral extraction rights.

See Country Park Access Map on home page to see areas you should now feel free to enter and enjoy.

Fences or locked gates restricting access to Country Park areas are not legal obstructions to public access.

Who we are

Friends of Panshanger Park formed in 2013 to represent groups & individuals disappointed by years of delay in the opening up of the full Country Park at Panshanger. The Panshanger estate owners were granted mineral extraction rights in following a Public Inquiry. The resulting legal agreement obliged the owners to return a restored Country Park with a wide range of facilities to the people of Hertfordshire.

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