Old Park Wood

Old Park Wood Nature Reserve

Old Park Wood Nature Reserve  © Claire Grey

Old Park Wood in autumn

Old Park Wood © Frieda Rummenhohl

Old Park Wood Nature Reserve
Possibly the most varied piece of woodland in Middlesex, with fantastic wildflower displays in spring.

Location

Behind Harefield Hospital
Harefield
Hertfordshire
UB9 6UX

OS Map Reference

TQ 049 913
A static map of Old Park Wood

Know before you go

Size
8 hectares

Parking information

No official parking. There is limited parking near the allotments on Hill End Road.

Access

Uneven woodland path.

Dogs

Under effective control

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

April to July

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

About the reserve

Just behind Harefield Hospital, on the edge of a bustling city, a tranquil refuge is tucked away. Old Park Wood is a hidden gem and rich with wildlife. This nature reserve is a joy to visit throughout the year, however, it offers a particularly stunning sight in spring, when the woodland floor is transformed into a sea of colours.

Spectacular blooms of bluebells, yellow archangel, lesser celandine, wood anemone and coralroot bittercress, the latter being a rarity in both the UK and Hertfordshire, create a rainbow of purple, yellow, white and more.

Old Park Wood is an ancient woodland, thought to have been continuously wooded since Saxon times. At the boundary of the woods, you may see a shallow ditch, flanked by a series of large stumps - the remnants of hornbeams whose stems would have been cut and ‘layered’ down to form a natural fence to hold livestock such as pigs, fattened up on acorns in a system known as pannage. Ancient woodlands are those known to have been
present by 1650 and are an irreplaceable wild link to our past, hosting a unique biodiversity.

Old Park Wood Map

The wood is the ideal habitat for tawny owls which are perfectly adapted to these dense woodlands, having short wings for great manoeuvrability and mottled reddish-brown plumage. It might be a challenge to spot them, their camouflage perfectly blending in with the trees, but listen out for the distinctive “twit-twoo” call. This call is actually a combination of a pair of owls, the female calling “twit” and the male replying with “twoo”. You might also hear the rhythmic drumming of a male great spotted woodpecker, marking his territory and attempting to attract a mate.

Directions

Site entrance:There are public footpaths to the site’s entrance from
Hill End Road and Bellevue Terrace.

Access by road: From Harefield High Street head north onto Rickmansworth Road. After 0.1 miles turn left onto Hill End Road. The reserve is around 0.2 miles, past Harefield Hospital, along a public footpath on the left.

Access by public transport
Bus:
R1, R2, U9 – Harefield Hospital (0.5 miles).
Rail: Northwood Rail Station (3.5 miles).

Follow us on social media

Support our nature reserves

It costs on average £30 per month to care for each acre of our nature reserves.
£