Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust Secure Thorley Wash Site for Public

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust have secured the 40-acre Thorley Wash site from the Environment Agency for people and wildlife.

The Thorley Wash acquisition is one of several recent developments that have occurred at the Trust. They have also managed to secure the lease for Waterford Heath near Hertford until 2096 (see wardtimes, 28 February 2011). In addition, they have also had to say a sad goodbye and happy hello as their former Chief Executive Judy Adams retired after 11 years to be replaced by Jane Durney.

‘Taking on pieces of land like Thorley and Waterford is vitally important,’ explained a Trust spokesperson, ‘As the Wildlife Trust it's our job to ensure that habitats are managed carefully. If we get the habitat right, the wildlife will follow.’

Thorley Wash has been classified by Natural England as being in ‘unfavourable ecological condition.’ Now that the Trust has acquired it they intend to safeguard its ecological future and improve the conditions in the area as well as linking it up with other wetland sites in the Stort Valley.

‘Thorley Wash forms a key part of the Trust’s Stort Valley Living Landscape,’ added Sarah Buckingham, from the Trust, ‘We are trying to reconnect fragmented pieces of habitat along and near the River Stort, between Bishop’s Stortford in the north and Hoddesdon in the south. The purchase is good news for local people too, ensuring this vital green space is protected as Bishop’s Stortford’s population grows.’

The area is currently dominated by Reed Sweet Grass and Reed Canary Grass. In the spring and summer it is blooming with Marsh Marigolds and Meadowsweet .

The site is also vibrant with animals as migrant birds return from Africa from April. Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Chiffchaffs compete with one another with their song.

‘Barn owls have bred here in recent years and they may be seen hunting at dusk for small mammals which thrive in the thick grassland,’ added Sarah, ‘We are delighted that a water vole was spotted here recently – the first sighting in the Stort Valley for many years.’

If you would like to find out more about these new sites then visit either Thorley Wash or Waterford Heath.

Click here if you would like to join the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.


Ahren Lester.