HOW DO WE MAKE A VILLAGE GREEN?
There is considerable interest and support from residents in ensuring that Hertford Heath remains a ‘green’ village.
Local groups are taking practical steps to ensure less waste, a lower carbon footprint, less noise pollution and better air quality.
Sustainable Hertford Heath (SHH) is a set of volunteers that grew largely out of the thought process and need for an action plan initiated by the Hertford Heath Neighbourhood Plan.
SHH operates independently on behalf of the local community. We meet on a monthly basis but are primarily action and activity based.
Membership is open to anyone who supports the aims of the group and participates in its activities.
SHH is free to join and relies on the willingness of participants and other parties to cover any expenses necessary to carry out its aims.
Hertford Heath is a fascinating mosaic of woodland and open heathland; something that is now quite rare in Hertfordshire. A large part of the Heath is a Nature Reserve managed by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.
Two separate areas, The Roundings and Goldingtons flank both sides of London Road. In The Roundings, common heather, purple moor grass and wavy hair grass all flourish. In the summer the small yellow flowers of tormentil abound. Ponds originally dug for clay and gravel support a rich aquatic life.
In Goldingtons, the trees are mainly oak and hornbeam. Nuthatch, jay and sparrow hawk are among the many woodland birds. The ponds are the haunts of dragonfly including the southern hawker. The timid muntjac deer abounds and the odd fox is often spotted.
The Heath is a registered common. The Wildlife Trust has a long-term management agreement with its owner, Haileybury. It also has an agreement with the Forestry Commission to manage the northern sector of Balls Wood as a nature reserve.
The farmland in the parish lies partly on gravel and loam and partly on clay. Dairy farming predominates on three of the half-dozen local farms. Many fields and paddocks around the village are given over to horses.
Foxholes Farm has been managed by the same family since just after World war II. Home-produced beef and rare-breed pork are available from the popular farm shop. The farm has more than 1,000 acres of arable land growing crop for bread, oil animal feed and breeding.
Amwell Place Farm is home to around 260 Pedigree Jersey cows that make up the Bluegrass herd who compete in shows across the UK, winning many prizes. The herd graze the fields on the farm in the summer and are milked twice a day to produce rich creamy milk which gets used to make Dawlicious Ice cream along with Jersey cream.
London Clay, some fifty million years old underlies the parish of Hertford Heath. The sandy grey clay was exposed when the A10 was built.
Beneath the clay there are thin and mainly sandy Reading Beds. Below that is chalk. The River Lea developed along part of the old river system heading south from Ware towards the Thames.
As the river cut deeper into the land alongside, it adjusted its course periodically, leaving behind flat-topped deposits called terraces. One of these, the Taplow Terrace, 120,000 years old, underlies Broxbourne and a part of Great Amwell. It contains the remains of mammoths.