Walkies! Time to check out a fresh bit of forest

Heartwood Forest near St Albans
Heartwood Forest near St Albans

With the wonders of Ashridge on our doorstep and Wendover Woods just around the corner, we’re spoilt for choice if we fancy a stroll in the great outdoors.

But that’s no reason to ignore other beauty spots close at hand, and there’s an ideal opportunity this weekend.

Heartwood Forest at Sandridge on the outskirts of St Albans is a Woodland Trust project where an 850 acre site is being transformed into a broadleaved woodland.

It already boasts 45 acres of ancient woodland and is home to many rare butterflies and the protected English bluebell.

By planting an additional 600,000 trees, creating wildflower meadows and laying miles of footpaths and bridleways, the Trust aims to create the largest new native forest in England within easy reach of millions of people.

On Saturday there’s a free dog walking event between 10am and 3pm at which people can learn about a new dog owners’ code of conduct. There will be 100 free Mars Petcare goodie bags on offer and the Dogs Trust will be providing free micro chipping.

Find out more by searching ‘Heartwood Forest’ online or call Christina Joachim on 0845 935583.

If you’re not up for a short trip but still want an outdoor experience, pop along to 15 Gade Valley Cottages in Great Gaddesden, which is open on Sunday as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

This 165ft x 30ft sloping rural garden features paths which lead through a woodland area emerging by wildlife pond and sunny border.

A choice of seating offers sunny rural views or quiet shady contemplation with sounds of rustling bamboos and bubbling water. It’s open from 1.30pm to 5pm, and admission is £3, children free.