2021 County Report for Hertfordshire

Ian Denholm, Alla Mashanova and Astrid Biddle

Alongside the more routine aspects of a VCR role, it is rewarding to participate in broader initiatives aimed at documenting and conserving the local flora. Three recent examples of such activity are summarised in this report.

Firstly, one field meeting of the Herts Flora Group in 2021 was to Woodoaks Farm near Maple Cross (TQ0393). This had recently been gifted by the elderly owner to the Soil Association (SA), who intend to develop it as a showcase sustainable farming practices. Results of our botanical survey included the discovery of over 100 flowering plants of Spreading Bur-parsley (Torilis arvensis) in a conservation field margin! The local SA officer is keen to work with BSBI to protect the Torilis but also implement ways of enhancing the flora as a whole.

Secondly, we continue to work with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) and the Herts Environmental Records Centre (HERC) to update information on the status of scarcer species highlighted in a recent State of Nature report for the county. The aim is to fill as many knowledge gaps as possible to inform conservation priorities.

Thirdly, we support the annual botanical surveys of Local Wildlife Sites led by HMWT and HERC through participating in field surveys, scrutinising the resulting reports and recommending management options. This work has recently been expanded to encompass riverine sites and we have produced a list of indicator species to be used alongside other physical, topographical and ecological data to assess the overall quality of river-courses and to identify where remedial measures are required.