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min temp: 9°C
With overindulgence almost guaranteed at Christmas,
the Countryside Management Service has picked
a delightful festive walk to help you stay in shape
THIS circular walk will take you right around Bunkers Park, and has an optional dog-leg into the neighbouring Long Deans Nature Reserve. It may be joined at any point and walked in either direction. The dotted line on the map shows the route and there are also waymark posts with this arrow along the way.
The circular walk is 2 miles/3.5km long and should take about an hour to walk. The Long Deans spur adds about another mile/1.6km and will make your walk about half an hour longer.
Bunkers Park was given to Dacorum Borough Council by the New Towns Commission for leisure and amenity use. You may walk anywhere you like in Bunkers Park, except where signs indicate that ground nesting birds (such as skylarks) are being protected from disturbance.
If you are walking with a dog, please clean up after it. Please also make sure you keep your dog on a lead if there are cattle grazing in Long Deans this is for the safety of your pet as well as that of the livestock.
Bunkers Park was farmed from Roman times until the 1990s. Now the area has been replanted to provide a haven for wildlife and the people of Hemel Hempstead.
In 1996 the land was ploughed and re-seeded with grasses and wild flowers. These make a wonderful habitat for declining bird species such as the corn bunting, yellowhammer, song thrush and the skylark, which is pictured on the Bunkers Park logo. The birds eat the seeds of the flowers and grasses, and also feed on the many insects which can thrive because there are no pesticides used here.
Tree planting, using native species, began at Bunkers Park in the winter of 1998. Hundreds of schoolchildren and local people helped plant the trees, and they will be able to watch the plantations mature into woodlands over the next 50 or so years.
Bunkers Park is developing into one of the most important butterfly habitats in Hertfordshire, with twenty five species recorded at the last count.
Long Deans Nature Reserve has been pasture for centuries and has many interesting herbs in the sward. In the spring you can find cowslips on the southern slopes and in summer there are pyramidal orchids, now increasing in number. Marbled white and small copper butterflies can be seen here in mid July. Look out for the ancient ash tree at the bottom of the valley.
This walk is supported by the Dacorum NHS Primary Care Group and Dacorum Borough Council
Starting point: Any point on the route, such as Leverstock Green Village Hall
Distance: 2 or 3 miles/3.5 or 5km
Time: Short route about an hour; longer route 1 1/2hours
Map: OS Explorer 182