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Cassiobury Park

Cassiobury Park is a large park of great local heritage importance and rich in wildlife. It has a variety of habitats, including the River Gade and the Grand Union canal. Other wetland includes: streams, ditches, springs, ponds and watercress beds. There is also wet grassland and carr woodland (wet woodland). Elsewhere there is acid grassland and veteran trees that provide mature and dead wood niches.

The wet areas in the park are important because areas of open water, marsh and alder carr are uncommon in Hertfordshire. Only about 114 hectares of fen or marsh habitats now remain in Hertfordshire. Key habitats that are locally rare, or threatened, and require conservation action include: tall fen swamp, Alder carr, Chalk stream and acid grassland. Although watercress beds are artificial, they support a scarce associated fauna, similar to chalk streams, and this is one of only two left in the County.

Plant species include: water-crowfoot, common water starwort, water plantain and celery-leaved buttercup.

Birds include: song thrush, all three species of woodpecker, grey heron, moorhen, swan, kingfisher, grey wagtail, teal, green sandpiper, water rail and mallard and in the spring/summer, blackcaps and chiffchaffs are heard. House martins, swallows and swifts can be seen feeding on insects over the park. In the winter snipe, redwings, fieldfares may be seen.

Mammals include: pipistrelle, water shrew. Water vole was present recently, but now appears to be extinct in the park.

Amphibians and reptiles include: frogs, toads, smooth newt and grass snakes

Fish and molluscs: swan mussel, nerite, bullhead

Insects: Includes two red data species, both flies, Parhelophilus consimilis and Vanoyia tenuicornis. There is an abundance of dragonflies, including the banded demoiselle and southern hawker. Marbled white butterflies have appeared for the past two summers, since the grass cutting regime was changed between the river and Rickmansworth Road.  

The Friends of Cassiobury Park is one of the longest established ‘Friends’ groups in Watford. They help look after the park and have regular conservation work parties. Why not join them? To find out more about the Friends of Cassiobury Park contact Bridget Finch on Tel: 01923 227049.

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