Friends of Panshanger were formed during 2014 to be the voice urging access to the 1,000 acres of parkland.
The lovely wooded valley sides, the meandering lake running through the valley and the western views preserve the outline of the inspired vision of Humphrey Repton, the landscape designer, presented in his Red Book in 1799. It is now listed as Grade II* status, of historic importance for our national heritage. The park created by the Cowper family was part of their tranche of land held in the Mimram valley since at least the early eighteenth century.
When the planning approval to dig and extract gravel from Panshanger Park was granted on appeal in 1982 it was made a condition by the Minister of Housing and Local Government that a “Country Park was to be created for the enjoyment of the neighbourhood all around the historic park.” It was also necessary for historic features of the park to be understood, respected, restored and enhanced.
Recent ownership has changed but duties of the planning requirements have remained. Presently owned by Tarmac, a holding company based in Dublin, development and availability of the public park has stuttered along. The park hosts a weekly parkrun taking in flat areas, hillsides, open parkland and woods alongside water and rare breeds of cattle.
Many members of Hertford Civic Society enjoy walking and cycling along the paths in the available areas of the Park, for the flora and fauna – wildlife and plants like drifts of snowdrops and bluebells. Even daily dog walking is much improved by the views across the landscape shaped by Humphrey Repton, following lesser work by Lancelot Capability Brown.
Members with special interest in the Park feature among those who serve on committees of the Friends of Panshanger, with the aim of re-invigorating the historic views and the routes of paths through the landscape; also working in teams removing overgrowth and inappropriate planting.