Lydekker Park


Lydekker Park is a beautiful green space, enjoyed by residents and visitors as a place to walk, relax and take part in leisure activities. The Park boasts open grass areas with mature trees, shrub beds, and wildlife ponds. A selection of new ornamental trees have been planted in the last year as part of Harpenden Town Council’s ongoing policy to increase biodiversity and combat climate change.
 
The open grass areas are interspersed with mature trees and edged by shrub beds and together with the pond area, this allows a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, small mammals and insects to inhabit this space. 
The Park supports a variety of birds, including species such as tree creeper, jay, goldcrest, coal tit, nuthatch, greater spotted woodpecker and grey wagtail. The ponds and adjacent plants attract a variety of insects, most prominently dragonflies, damselflies and hoverflies. The larvae of these live in the ponds together with other species such as the water boatmen, whilst pond skaters skim across the surface of the water. There is also a good population of smooth newts and common frog that visit the pond area every year to breed and habitat piles have been created to provide shelter throughout the year.

Complete renovation of the pond took place in September 2019, with removal of large amounts of silt and a new pond liner being installed. The pond was separated into two sections to reduce the cost and impact of replacing the liner should it be damaged. New planting was also installed with care taken to ensure that species chosen were appropriate to the size of the pond. A small dipping deck was also erected in the pond to allow for better access for community and educational groups. Dogwoods have been planted along the bank of the pond to provide coverage for amphibians and small mammals, and logs have been added to the shallow areas of the pond to provide perching places for odonata species (dragonfly and damselfly). Bug hotels will also be created along this bank with local uniform groups. 

The meadow area surrounding the southern bank of the pond was seeded with appropriate native wildflowers, and is managed as a mini-meadow, with a pathway cut through the long grass. This provides an extension of the pond bankside vegetation habitat, while remaining tucked away from the rest of the park so as not to spoil the views of the formalised areas.

The Lydekker Park Management Plan for 2021 - 2026 can be viewed here - Management Plan

Accessibility


Lydekker Park is near the centre of Harpenden, it is a welcoming and accessible space with paths, benches and a car park. A path connects the three entrances and runs through the centre of this open space. It is regularly visited by grounds maintenance staff and Town Rangers to ensure that the area is well maintained and litter is collected.

 

Lively in Lydekker Events


Two free events are hosted by Harpenden Town Council each year.

The incredibly popular Teddy Bears Picnic is organised to coincide with National Play Day in Lydekker Park. This is a lively summer event for children and their bears, attended by around 1000 people with free entertainment and activities.

Music in Lydekker, another summer highlight, showcases musical talent in beautiful surroundings. Food and drink vendors are onsite and the audience is also welcome to bring picnic rugs, chairs and refreshments. Around 1000 people of all ages attend this free event.

You can read more about these occasions in the events calendar.

 

History of Lydekker Park


The land of Lydekker Park was formerly part of the grounds of Harpenden Lodge, which was built in 1803 and bought by the Lydekkers, one of Harpenden’s oldest families, in 1857. The last surviving member of the Harpenden branch of the Lydekker family, Miss Hilda Lydekker, lived in Harpenden Lodge until 1979. In 1937 she entered into an agreement with the former Harpenden Urban District Council that the 11 acres of land attached to Harpenden Lodge should become private open space.

It was her intention that part of it be preserved as a memorial to her loved ones lost in the 1914 – 1918 War. With the demise of the Urban District Council in 1974, this agreement passed to the newly created St Albans District Council and, following her death in 1987, St Albans District Council entered into an agreement with the executors of the will to retain three acres as public open space with a car park.

As St Albans District Council was the successor Council to the former Harpenden Urban District Council, it became the beneficiary of this gifted land. In 2012, after much campaigning, Lydekker Park and car park were devolved back from the District Council into the ownership of Harpenden Town Council. 

 

Volunteering


Harpenden Town Council is committed to developing and delivering community engagement in all of Harpenden’s green spaces, including Lydekker Park, and encourages local involvement. To find out more about volunteering please contact Harpenden Town Council by emailing harpenden.town.council@harpenden.gov.uk or calling us 01582 768278.

Lydekker Park Primary Featured Image Lydekker Park Secondary Featured Image

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