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Leach Fields lease ends

Leach Fields
December 31 is the last day for people to enjoy walking through Leach Fields

A nature conservation area, leased to the Gobions Woodland Trust (GWT) for almost 20 years and enjoyed by the local community, is to be closed to the public from 1 January, 2009.

The decision means that there will no longer be access to Leach Fields from any of the regularly-used entrances.

This includes the area's borders with GWT land, the path next to 58 Bluebridge Road, or from the gardens backing on to Leach Fields.

Residents have been notified by the GWT that all gates at the bottom of gardens backing on to Leach Fields will have to be secured by 31 December - and no longer used - in order to comply with the wishes of the owners of the land, Leach Homes.

Residents with gates leading into Leach Fields are required to secure them and no longer use them
Residents with gates leading into Leach Fields are required to secure them by 31 December and no longer use them.

Leach Homes managing director, Jim Hatch, visited the site with members of GWT recently and confirmed that the general public will no longer be allowed to access the land.

The area has been maintained as a nature conservation area by the GWT and is said to feature more than 100 species of native grasses and flowers. There are also mature oak trees and half a dozen mature elms that survived dutch elm disease.

The GWT has organised regular work parties to maintain the area with the help of volunteers from the local community. That work will now cease, although conservation work on Gobions Woodland will continue as normal.

According to the North Mymms District Green Belt Society's honorary secretary, Bob Horrocks, writing in this site's forum, Leach Fields is part of the Green Belt. It is also part of Wildlife Site 150, Moffats Meadows, as designated on the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Plan.

A map of Leach Fields taken from the District Plan
A map of Leach Fields taken from the District Plan

Those wanting to access Gobions Woodland can still do so from several points along Mymms Drive, Moffats Lane and Bluebridge Avenue.

Gobions Woodland can also be reached by taking footpath 11 from Bluebridge Road (on the south side of the bridge).

For those unable to get out for a walk through Leach Fields before public access is blocked, click here for some photographs of the fields, hedgerows and the footpaths that have been open to the public for the past 20 years.

You can discuss the closure of Leach Fields, and add your memories of walking in the area, in a discussion thread running in this site's forum.

21 December 2008

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