Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Black-necked grebe (c) Luke Massey/2020VISION

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is a local charity supported by people who care about protecting wildlife, including over 22,000 members.

With volunteers, we manage a network of more than 40 nature reserves, covering over 1,900 acres. Beyond this our vision is of a Living Landscape, where we work with others to improve our towns and countryside for wildlife. We are one of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK - we share a vision for a Living Landscape and Living Seas, an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.

Our Vision

An environment rich in wildlife for everyone

Our Mission

To protect and enhance wildlife and connect people with the natural world, working in partnership to create a Living Landscape in Herts & Middlesex

Our Objectives

FOR WILDLIFE: to protect, enhance and connect places for wildlife on nature reserves, in urban areas and across the wider countryside through positive conservation action

FOR PEOPLE: to inspire people to value the natural world and enable action for wildlife

You can help us to deliver our work by joining us today.

A Better Future For Wildlife - The Trust's 5 Year Plan

Bumble bee on bird's-foot-trefoil

The Trust aims to create an environment rich in wildlife and over the last 50 years we have made a real difference to the wildlife of Herts and Middlesex, creating new wildlife habitats on our reserves and in the wider countryside and urban areas.

We have helped people to value and become more aware of wildlife and the need for its conservation. Together this has resulted in growing populations
of endangered species, such as the water vole and small blue butterfly, and many more people actively involved in protecting their local wildlife.

But wildlife remains in trouble. From hornbeams to heathlands, from greenfinches to grasshoppers, wildlife and wild places need help. Natural habitats are under threat and continue to be lost and fragmented whilst species continue to decline.

The Trust’s new 50 Year Vision and five year plan encourages everyone to act now. Whether as an individual volunteer or member of the Trust, land manager, business, or the voluntary and government sector, you all have a vital role to play. Everyone can make a difference, so we invite you to get involved now in creating a better future for wildlife.

Key dates in our history



The inaugural meeting of what was to become the Trust was held in St Albans Town Hall on 16 November. There wasn't enough space for everyone, it was so popular.


The Hertfordshire & Middlesex Trust for Nature Conservation was created on 21 August and formally incorporated on 9 October. Fox Covert was offered as a gift by Mr Fordham of Letchworth and became the Trust's first nature reserve. 

The Trust were lobbying to try and influence the local impact of the route for the North Sea Gas Pipeline. The construction of the Royston by-pass was prevented from having a serious impact on Therfield Heath.


The Commons Registration Act provided an opportunity to encourage registration and improve protection of significant sites.


The Trust worked to preserve Wildlife Sites in the Chess Valley from the impact of the new North Orbital Road.


The Trust continued to grow: Blagrove Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), was taken under Trust management and Lemsford Springs was purchased. The Trust had 20 nature reserves.


Trust membership was 1,200.


The first case of Dutch Elm Disease on a Trust reserve was noted at Ashwell Quarry.


More reserves were added to the Trust's portfolio: Hertford Heath, Alpine Meadow, Hexton Chalk Pit and Uxbridge Alderglade and in 1975, Fir and Pond Woods.


By May the Trust had 30 reserves and a management interest in several more.


Membership of the Trust grows to 5,000: nationally The Wildlife Trusts are 40 strong and have 1,000 nature reserves between them. Government begins pursuing the idea of National Nature Reserves.


Pryors Wood in Stevenage is donated to the Trust while Purwell Ninesprings becomes the Trust's 39th reserve the following year.


The Wildlife & Countryside Act came into force - it is given a mixed reception locally, and is considered to have missed many opportunities.


The Trust moves to Grebe House in Verulamium Park, St Albans.


The name of the Trust was officially changed to “The Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust”.


Black-necked grebe seen in Hertfordshire for first time in 60 years at Hilfield Park Reservoir. Meanwhile the “Green Team” was established as an itinerant work force of volunteers.

Aldbury Nowers, also known as Duchie’s Piece, was opened by the Queen Mother.


First report of otters breeding at Rye Meads Nature Reserve.


A 50 Year Vision for Hertfordshire Wildlife and Natural Habitat (Biodiversity Action Plan) was published, the first for a county. Membership of the Trust now stands at 7,000.


King's Meads and Broadwater Lake become Trust reserves.


Tewin Orchard and Rye Meads are added to the Trust's portfolio.


Membership now stands at 12,000.


The Trust buys Amwell Quarry and embarks on a major restoration project. The following year the Environment Minister Hilary Benn pays a visit and Chris Packham opens the new Dragonfly Trail there. The reserve is now internationally important for its wetland bird populations.


The Trust took action to address the serious decline in water voles with the start of the Wetlands for Water Voles and People project.


Balls Wood is bought and officially handed over in June, after a major fundraising campaign to protect this semi-ancient woodland. Meanwhile the Trust takes on Gobions Wood; Hawkins Wood is left to the Trust in a legacy. Membership reached the 20,000 mark.


The small blue butterfly returned to Hertfordshire at Aldbury Nowers after an eight year absence, thanks to a chalk grassland restoration work carried out by the Trust in 2008.

The Trust acquired Thorley Flood Pound, a SSSI, from the Environment Agency and started planning a restoration project to protect the wet grassland and improve access for visitors.


The Trust worked to raise profile with the re-launch of the members' magazine Wildlife Matters, a new e-newsletter and groups on Facebook and Twitter.

Waterford Heath was secured on a long lease, protecting scarce grizzled skipper butterflies for the next 85 years.


The whole of the Tring Reservoirs complex, one of the most important wetland reserves in Southern England and a mecca for birdwatchers, came under Trust management.


Orchids emerge in swathes on Stevenage roadsides, following a programme of careful mowing by Stevenage Borough Council, working in partnership with the Trust on the Wild Stevenage project.

Our work on Hertfordshire's rivers receives national recognition with a visit from Environment Minister Richard Benyon. Meanwhile the national Chalk Streams Charter is launched from the dried up River Beane near Stevenage, thanks to our work to raise awareness of the terrible state of Hertfordshire's chalk streams.

Thorley Wash re-opened to the public following a major restoration project. Water rail are reported to be breeding on the reserve. Membership now stands at over 21,000... and still going strong!

Help us to continue our success story. Join us today