Seasons at Hatfield Forest

November 19

Hatfield Forest

A winter hush has descended on Hatfield Forest, as trees and creatures alike enjoy a seasonal slumber. The Forest is home to more than 4000 species of wildlife and trees, and a refuge for many rare insects, fungi and wildflowers. One fungi discovered during a recent survey is thought to be the first recorded sighting in the United Kingdom. This autumn the colourful carpet of fallen leaves was joined by a bumper crop of fungi, encouraged by the warm, wet weather. These include some oddly named ones, such as Jelly Ears and King Alfred’s Cakes.

Throughout the autumn we held a photographic challenge, encouraging visitors to capture the mood of the season and share their pictures with the hashtag #NTAutumnChallenge. If you and your family visit Hatfield Forest, why not also share your photos with us on social media using the hashtag #HatfieldForestNT. 

If you want a project for the New Year, or are looking to spend more time with nature, have you ever considered creating a photographic calendar? You could use this to track your favourite place through the changing seasons. This might be a tree in your local park, or even a corner of your back garden. Every season has its own beauty and this project will help you appreciate the diversity of our living world.

Here at Hatfield Forest we have been working hard to restore the beauty of the Lake area. Renowned landscape architect Lancelot Capability Brown devised a plan for this area in the eighteenth century. During World War II the cattle who grazed the Forest were moved elsewhere and our team of volunteers were called to the frontline. Over time hawthorn scrub grew up, obscuring glorious views across the lake. 

Our work to clear this area is continuing, opening up sightlines which have not been visible for 70 years. As the area now receives more light, plants which have lain dormant in the soil for many years will flourish in the spring. We also intend to plant some new specimen trees, in accordance with Capability Brown’s plans. These include oak, hornbeam and field maple grown in our own Forest nursery. 

One of the by-products of the restoration has been wood from the cleared area. Every last twig has been chipped and is being used as fuel for biomass power stations. This is hugely efficient and far less damaging to the environment than burning fossil fuels. To learn more about this project and to see the latest updates, please visit 

Thank you for your continued support. Together we can look after the Forest for future generations. Because this special place needs a rest in the winter time, please try to save your visit for the summer months when conditions are more comfortable for you to explore this truly unique environment. If you do visit during the winter, please be aware that car parking is extremely limited while the grass car parks are closed. While on foot, please keep to the roadways, boardwalk and use the open grassy areas, which will be less muddy than inside the woods.

For more information please visit

Helen Hooker & Elizabeth Reeve

Visitor Welcome Team

Hatfield Forest

01279 870678



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