Head to Hatfield Forest this summer
Now is the time to head to Hatfield Forest, a 1,000-acre swathe of historic, ecologically important greenery near Bishop’s Stortford. Owned by the National Trust, their Every Step Counts campaign aims to encourage visitors to hold off during the wetter weather to help preserve the ancient royal hunting forest created by Henry I. Visitors are welcome from May until late October, as during winter the mostly clay ground becomes muddy and waterlogged.
To show which paths are closed, traditional hand-made wooden hurdles using locally sourced sweet chestnut have been placed around the forest, just as they would have been in the medieval period. Created by local coppice craftsman Jake, (pictured, below), and his partner Amy, the fences were built on site using traditional tools.
The forest is alive with activities over the summer, from guided forest runs each Thursday at 11am to the first ever Mutt Strutt on Sunday 28 May at 9.45am. Mindful practices including yoga and meditation will be held by the Decoy Lake at 10am each Saturday on 10 and 24 June; 8 and 22 July; 5, 12, 19 and 26 August and 2 September.
In addition the 90-minute (or two hours, depending on your speed) circular walk takes in medieval coppices, natural sculptures and fallow deer. Full of natural wonder, you’ll have earned the chance to slip your off muddy wellies over a drink at the Green Man pub on the Takely Road.
Open from 9am at weekends, 10 am Monday - Friday, national trust.org.uk