The Commons

Overview of habitat
This delightful area lies around the southern boundaries of the QEII Hospital and has a range of habitats including oak woodland, calcareous fen, meadows, ditches and ponds.
How to access
Access is via footpaths off The Commons, Howlands and Caponfield in Welwyn Garden City.
Volunteer with us

Much of the practical work on this nature reserve is undertaken by Commonswood Nature Watch and other local volunteers.

If you have time to spare and would like to help with anything ranging from path maintenance, coppicing, hedge restoration, bird and butterfly survey, please contact us.

How we manage the site
The Countryside Stewardship grant has helped fund a programme of hedge-laying and planting, the annual cropping of a wild bird mix to provide winter food for farmland birds such as corn buntings and yellow hammers, and the provision of fencing to create paddocks for grazing livestock.

Rare breed cattle are now being used on the reserve as a way of managing the land in a natural way to maintain flower-rich meadows. During each winter, small areas of woodland around the fen will be coppiced to regenerate the trees and bushes and to restore fen vegetation to the wetter areas. The arable field will continue to be sown in spring with Wild Bird Mix which will provide seeds in winter to attract birds such as linnets and yellowhammers.

At all our sites, we manage them with a balanced consideration to improve both wildlife biodiversity and public amenity whilst providing a safe and attractive experience for visitors.

All of our major sites have a dedicated ecological management plan which is used to help tailor the management to suit differing landscapes and habitat types.