Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, spoke at a walk to celebrate the first anniversary of the public opening of one-third of historic Panshanger Park. Read about the day and listen to Kate’s speech here.
26 March 2015 – We call for swift opening of long overdue Panshanger Park
We are joining our member, the Friends of Panshanger Park, on Tuesday 31 March for a walk to celebrate the first anniversary of the public opening of one-third of the historic Panshanger Country Park in Hertfordshire.
Panshanger Park, between Hertford and Welwyn Garden City, is the subject of a legal agreement which allowed the owner, Lafarge Tarmac, to take minerals in exchange for the creation of a country park within the grade II* listed park and garden. Hertfordshire County Council is responsible for holding Lafarge Tarmac to account.
The park was to be opened progressively from 1989. In fact the first part was only opened in April 2014, 25 years late.
On Tuesday, public walks will start at the park’s entry points, the car-parks on Thieves Lane, Mary Purver Way, Birch Green, Panshanger Lane and Poplars Green at 10.15am. Walkers will converge at Riverside Cottage at 11am where they will be addressed by Gary O’Leary, chairman of the Friends, and our general secretary Kate Ashbrook.
Says Kate Ashbrook: ‘We congratulate the Friends on their persistence in making Lafarge Tarmac and Hertfordshire County Council mend their broken promise to open the country park. It is deplorable that so far only one-third is accessible — a quarter of a century late.
‘This glorious park, with its fascinating landscape history, should be available for all to visit, with public paths and access land dedicated for public enjoyment. Even the 600-year-old Panshanger Oak, selected at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee as one of the 50 greatest trees in Britain is out of bounds.
‘Lafarge Tarmac has benefited hugely from its exploitation of the area; the very least it can do is keep its promise, enshrined in the legal agreement, to open the park for all.
‘We hope that this event will demonstrate to the company and the council that the people want to reclaim their park, and that it will encourage both parties to fulfil their promise forthwith.’
After the speeches, guides from the Friends will take walkers through the unopened areas of the park, to see the Panshanger Great Oak, the Orangery and views across Repton’s Broadwater.
All are welcome.