Hatfield Forest

“Hatfield is of supreme interest in that all the elements of a medieval Forest survive: deer, cattle, coppice woods, pollards, scrub, timber trees, grassland and fen …. As such it is almost certainly unique in England and possibly in the world. Hatfield is the only place where one can step back into the Middle Ages to see, with only a small effort of the imagination, what a Forest looked like in use.”

Oliver Rackham in ‘The Last Forest’

I visited Hatfield Forest in Essex the other day – it is one of my favourite places and the quote above by Britain’s greatest historical ecologist and woodland expert, the late and greatly missed Dr Oliver Rackham explains why.

The Last Forest - Rackham
His monograph on the site will never be bettered – it is a masterpiece of research and insight.

Hatfield Forest 1The main public entrance – the start of the magic

Hatfield Forest 2The wood pasture – shimmering with buttercups and ancient trees

Hatfield Forest 3Old fallen oaks left as dead wood habitats

Hatfield Forest 4Magnificent spreading oaks

Hatfield Forest 5Recently pollarded young trees which will make up the next generation

Hatfield Forest 6Cattle grazing the lawns

Hatfield Forest 7Oak veterans everywhere

HornbeamA place of hornbeams – one of Britain’s rarer trees

Hatfield Forest 8Of coppice

Hatfield Forest 9Of even more huge spreading trees

I never tire of visiting Hatfield Forest – one of the National Trust’s greatest places. I was lucky enough to visit Hatfield in 1985 with Oliver Rackham and I will never forget that day. Hatfield Forest is near Stanstead Airport just off the M11 – if you are in the area I suggest you pay a visit – you won’t regret it.

3 thoughts on “Hatfield Forest

  1. Hi Adrian

    Hi mate, so enjoying your blogs! How are you?

    Is that Hatfield , Hertfordshire?

    Best Wishes

    Margot 🙂

  2. Glad you enjoyed your visit, in my view almost the best time of year for the Forest, millions of buttercups and the scrubby hawthorn in flower together. Cheers, Stuart

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s