Northaw Great Wood

Overview of habitat
This extensive nature reserve is one of Hertfordshire's largest remaining historic wood pasture commons and comprises open bracken glades and wide rides with oak, hornbeam and birch woodland.

The wood was once an enormous area of common land stretching across most of the parish of Northaw. It would have been used to graze livestock, gather wood fuel and feed pigs. Its importance to biodiversity, therefore, lies in its history as wood pasture common - not as woodland.

Many visitors come to enjoy the trails, the spectacular autumn colour, and the chance of seeing a wide range of woodland wildlife, including fungi and butterflies.
How to access
Entrances for pedestrians are off Carbone Hill and The Ridgeway in Cuffley. The entrance to the car park is on The Ridgeway with the £1 parking fee payable in the honesty box.

Toilet facilities are available adjacent to the car park. Northaw has three colour coded routes which vary in length. The wood however is prone to being muddy so waterproof boots or wellies are strongly recommended. The steep gradient of some of the paths and rides means that sections of the wood are only suitable for well able-bodied users.
Volunteer with us

The Friends of Northaw Great Wood have continued to coppice small trees, particularly birch along the edges of Trails. This encourages a range of growth and provides different habitat for wildlife.

The Friends always welcome new members to the group so if you have time to spare please contact us for more information.

How we manage the site
The management strategy at Northaw focuses on the restoration of open wood pasture landscape within the wood. A number of glades and rides were restored by selectively felling trees and they are maintained on rotation by flail cutting.

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.