Wildlife survey

This survey was commissioned by the Friends of Cedars Park and carried out by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust in June 2017, providing the Council and Friends Group with a broader understanding of the park's ecosystem so that it may be looked after properly.

Cedars Park consists predominantly of a combination of managed semi-natural and ornamental, planted habitats in association with the parkland. This includes broadleaved semi-natural secondary woodland, broadleaved plantation woodland of recent origin, scrub, parkland, ruderal vegetation, marginal aquatic vegetation, eutrophic standing water, amenity grassland, and neutral grassland. The range of habitats present enables the park to support numerous foraging and nesting bird and invertebrate species, in addition to providing important semi-natural habitats for protected species such as bats and stag beetles in the area.

The woodland present in the privy garden area of the park is a relatively young secondary woodland, compromising of both native and non-native species. The canopy is dominated by Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) with frequent Yew (Taxus baccata), presumably derived from historical ornamental planting. Of the non-native species present, there is a mixture of self-set and planted individuals. The understory is similarly mixed, but of particular note is a localised population of Butchers Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) which is also presumably derived from historical ornamental planting. Much of the ground flora is dominated by species such as Ivy (Hedera helix) and Bramble (Rubus fruticosus), with some examples of developing woodland ground flora such as White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) and localised invasive or non-native species such as Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) – the latter again almost certainly derived from the original planting scheme. The trees and scrub around the park provide considerable resources for wildlife such as birds and invertebrates to forage, shelter, and nest in.

Much of the grassland present in the park is managed as amenity grassland for the benefit of park users, but there is an area of neutral grassland persisting to the south of the site, beneath largely native planted trees. Although dominated by competitive rank grasses, there are several areas supporting good concentrations of forb species, such as Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Common Vetch (Vicia sativa), with a notable population of Beaked Hawk’s-beard (Crepis vesicaria). Unusual plants in this area include a good population of Grass Vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia) and a small area of Spotted Medick (Medicago arabica). This area of grassland has been seen to support a range of invertebrates, such as the Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) butterfly and Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

Towards the north east of the site, where an old boating pond has since dried up, is an area of tall ruderal vegetation. Surrounded by scrub and centred around a small copse of young willow, much of the area is composed of early successional species such as Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). Within this are shorter, wetter areas, supporting species such as Pendulous Sedge (Carex pendula) and Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum). Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) has also been recorded in this area, perhaps due to colonisation following historical disturbance of the site.

The main pond, in the south east of the park, is bordered by a narrow fringe of vegetation, featuring both ornamental and naturally colonising species including Hard Rush (Juncus inflexus) and Flag Iris (Iris pseudocorus). The central island area is dominated by Common Reed (Phragmites australis). Leading off from the pond are two strips of tall marginal vegetation, which contain species such as Great Willowherb and Greater Pond Sedge (Carex riparia), and likely provide good habitat for ground nesting water birds such as Moorhen and for dragonflies and damselflies.