Go wild at Water Gardens activity day

Hemel Evolution: Artist's impression of Water Gardens regeneration
Hemel Evolution: Artist's impression of Water Gardens regeneration

Families will have the chance to go wild in Hemel Hempstead’s Water Gardens as part of a behind-the-scenes look at the landmark’s improvement works.
Dacorum Borough Council is joining forces with birds charity the RSPB and heritage group Friends of Jellicoe Water Gardens to hold a wildlife day in the area opposite Waterhouse Street next Saturday, January 24.

As part of the regenerating sceme of works taking place at the Geoffrey Jellicoe-designed outdoor space, a number of trees which were not in dthe designer’s original plan are being felled to let more light back into the Gardens.

During next Saturday’s activities, visitors will be able to see some of this timber planed into planks, made into bird boxes and mounted around the Gardens.

The day runs from 10.30am and 3pm and takes place at the junction of Waterhouse Street and Bridge Street. Bring the family and take part in children’s activities such as bird box painting.

As well as bird box painting and information about the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch taking place the same weekend, there will be a chance to find out more about the wildlife of the Gardens and what the local authority is doing to support nature as part of the major £3.6 million restoration.

Starting later in the spring, the project is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and the council.

Council leader Andrew Williams said: “The Water Gardens restoration is a vital part of our wider Hemel Evolution regeneration scheme which is currently transforming the town centre.

“We’re working with organisations such as the Friends, the RSPB, the Hertfordshire Gardens Trust and the Garden History Society to return them to Jellicoe’s original design and provide a special place for nature at the heart of our busy town.”

Among planned measures to boost the area’s wildlife diversity is the planting of a ‘green screen’ against the Water Gardens north car park to support insects and create a nesting habitat for birds and incorporating plants with scented flowers and berries in the flower garden and along Lovers’ Walk to encourage bees, butterflies and other insects.

The River Gade which flows through the site will also be made into a better habitat for fish by reducing silt to improve the water quality, adding fish passes at each weir to help fish swim upstream and introducing new planting along the water’s edge.

For more information on the council’s wider Hemel Evolution scheme, the Water Gardens restoration and events organised by the Friends of Jellicoe Water Gardens, visit www.dacorum.gov.uk/hemelevolution.