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Heartwood Forest, Hertfordshire

Heartwood Forest is the UK’s largest newly planted native forest. The first trees went in back in 2009, with the last of the 600,000 new trees being planted in 2019. It includes five ancient wooded areas rich in bluebells in spring, a host of wildflower meadows that bloom in summer.

The wildlife ecosystem has grown significantly and is now thriving, with more than 80 species spotted. These include rare butterflies, ladybirds, and a diverse range of nesting birds including red kites, buzzards, barn owls, woodpeckers, skylarks and kestrels.

I’ve been visiting the forest since 2009 and have watched it grow up. The transformation is incredible and I can’t wait to see how it develops over the next 10-15 years as the newly planted trees start to mature.