Hatfield Forest, Bishop's Stortford, England
Record Id: 7554
Hatfield Forest is a rare example of a surviving medieval Royal hunting Forest, characterized by coppices, woodland pasture and rides.
The coppices have been maintained over the centuries, each surrounded by a low earth bank. Within four of the coppices are so-called " pattes d'oie " radiating from the centre, added in the Georgian era to aid hunting with a gun. Ancient trees have been pollarded.
Fallow deer and muntjac deer still roam through the Forest. Cattle graze in the summer months. There is also a wide biodiversity, with over 3500 species of wildlife present.
In addition to the natural features, the central area contains landscape features mostly dating from the 18th century: an artificial lake, exotic, non-native specimen trees such as planes, yews, horse chestnuts and cedars of Lebanon, and a Shell House or Grotto on the lakeside. Capability Brown was responsible for a slightly later modification to the lake. This can still be seen.
The Forest also has some earthworks of uncertain origin, the Portingbury Hills, and a medieval rabbit warren, both of which are scheduled ancient monuments.
Detailed description added 8/6/2015
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Terrain: Reasonably flat.
Soil type/s: London clay.
External web site link: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatfield-forest
External web site link: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatfield-forest/features/hatfield-forest-and-capability-brown