This delightful area lies around the southern boundaries of the QEII Hospital and has a range of habitats including oak woodland, calcareous fen, meadows, ditches and ponds.
Access is via footpaths off The Commons, Howlands and Caponfield in Welwyn Garden City.
During the last ten years, Countryside Stewardship grant has helped fund a programme of hedge-laying and planting, the annual cropping of a wild bird mix to provide winter food for farmland birds such as corn buntings and yellow hammers, and the provision of fencing to create paddocks for grazing livestock.
A ten-year grant-funded programme of habitat work was agreed during 2014. It is hoped to bring back grazing livestock to the reserve as a way of managing the land in a natural way to maintain flower-rich meadows. During each winter, small areas of woodland around the fen will be coppiced to regenerate the trees and bushes and to restore fen vegetation to the wetter areas. The arable field will continue to be sown in spring with Wild Bird Mix.
In early 2016, the first phase of new fencing was successfully achieved on Windmill Hill. The second phase will take place during the summer and cattle will be brought to graze the fields.
New all-weather surfacing will be laid on the muddiest sections of paths.
Much of the practical work on this nature reserve is undertaken by Commonswood Nature Watch and other local volunteers. If you have time to spare and would like to help with anything ranging from path maintenance, coppicing, hedge restoration, bird and butterfly survey, please contact us.