Exploring The Historic Panshanger Park in Hertfordshire

Panshanger Park is a lovely 1000 acre site comprised of grassland, woodland and wetland areas with clearly marked bridleways, cycleways and footpaths and is one of the best places for a family walk in Hertfordshire, along with Broxbourne Woods and Ashridge Estate.

History of Panshanger Park

Panshanger Park is now managed by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust but was it originally owned by the Cowper family from the late 17th century to the early 20th century.

There was once a grand house on the estate which sadly fell into disrepair due to the lack of an heir, but you can still enjoy the grounds that were designed by Humphry Repton and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, a famous English landscape architect.

Panshanger Park map

Panshanger Park map

Where is Panshanger Park

The park is located just off the A414 between Welwyn Garden City and Hertford in Hertfordshire. Note that this is a busy road and you will always hear the hum of the traffic during your walk (in case this is something that bothers you).

It is just under 30 miles (45 km) north of London and would take about an hour to reach from central London by car. If you are looking to take the train from London,

You can also reach the park by train from London. You could take the Great Northern Rail from Moorgate directly to Hertford North which takes just under one hour. Alternatively, you could take the London North Eastern Railway from Kings Cross and change at Stevenage to Hertford North. This also takes just under one hour.

From Hertford North station it is about 5 miles (8km) to Panshanger Park so you would need to take a taxi.

Parking at Panshsanger Park

There is a small car park located just off Thieves Lane. At weekends the car park can get very busy and because there is only one way in and out, it can get very tricky to leave!

There is also a 2m height barrier which we only just squeezed under in our VW T6 Campervan.

Exploring Panshanger Park

There are several trails you can walk or cycle in the park and they are clearly marked and well maintained.

Map of Panshanger Park

Map of Panshanger Park

Woodland areas

You can walk through ancient broadleaf woodland where there are plenty of branches lying around for some den building. The kids were great at spotting funghi growing on the dead branches as well as a host of other tiny creatures that have made the fallen trees their home.

The woodland areas are also great for exploring if the weather isn’t the best as they provide good cover. If you are visiting Panshanger Park in the spring, you will also see the woodland floor carpeted with beautiful bluebells.

If you like bluebells, you might want to also check out Heartwood Forest, one of the best bluebell woods in Hertfordshire.

Woodland area at Panshanger Park

Woodland area at Panshanger Park

Den building materials in the woods

Den building materials in the woods

Den building in the woodland areas

Den building in the woodland areas

Grassland areas

There are also large areas of open grassland where you’ll see Longhorn cattle grazing. Signs will tell you that they are docile, but we kept our distance, especially when we saw a bull wandering through the herd!

Grassland at Panshanger Park

Grassland at Panshanger Park

Longhorn Cattle grazing at Panshanger Park

Longhorn Cattle grazing at Panshanger Park

Longhorn Cattle at Panshanger Park

Longhorn Cattle at Panshanger Park

Wetland areas

There are lakes and ponds which are abundant in wildlife, including dragonflies in the summer. If you feel like taking a break and enjoying the views, there are benches dotted around. The one at the top of the field overlooking Osprey Lake and the Mimram Valley  has the best views.

Osprey Lake at Panshanger Park

Osprey Lake at Panshanger Park

If you make it to the far end of the park (from the car park), you’ll see the remains of the Orangery next to the Panshanger Great Oak.

Looking for more walks nearby? We also enjoyed the Broxbourne Woods Sculpture Trail in Hertfordshire which is only 7 miles (11 km) south of Panshanger Park.

If you have kids who love the Gruffalo, have you checked out the various Gruffalo Trails in the UK? They are a really fun way to get the kids into walking (and orienteering). We loved the Gruffalo Trail at Wendover Woods which is about 45 minutes west of Panshanger Park.

Leeds Castle at sunset
Bluebell woods
The Jacobite (aka the Harry Potter Train)
Heartwood Forest
Woodland playground at Ashridge Estate
Longhorn Cattle grazing at Panshanger Park
The Roman Soldier
African animals at the Tring Natural History Museum
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