World Environment Day - at Hatfield Forest

April 19

World Environment Day

Every step counts at Hatfield Forest, as we work together to conserve and safeguard this special place. As guardians of the historic woodland and unique habitat, everyone has a part to play.

The Forest we love today is the result of working with nature - a 1,000 years of partnership between humans, animals and plants. Hatfield Forest, designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1954 and as a National Nature Reserve in 1997, is of international importance and renowned for its ancient trees. Some are well in excess of 500 years old, and are descendants of the wildwoods covering the United Kingdom after the last Ice Age.

Genetic testing has revealed a direct line between the fallow deer at the Forest now and those who roamed here 1,000 years ago, during the reign of King Henry I. In the 21st century it is home to more than 4,000 species of wildlife and tree, and a refuge for many rare insects, fungi and wildflowers.

The Forest is the best preserved medieval hunting ground of its kind in Europe. In the last decade it has become ever more popular, with visits doubling to around 500,000 a year. The combination of cold, wet weather, many footsteps and waterlogged ground have taken their toll on this precious landscape.  

To protect the Forest we have changed the way we work. We now carry out heavier conservation jobs when the ground is drier, and have been researching ways to regenerate areas compacted by excess footfall. We have also urged visitors to come and explore the Forest in the drier summer months.

These measures are helping us protect the Forest for future generations of people, wildlife and plants.

To find out about Hatfield Forest, please visit our website at 


Helen Hooker & Elizabeth Reeve

Visitor Welcome Team

Hatfield Forest




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