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Harpenden’s Hidden Gem: How Lydekker Park went from private grounds to Green Flag public space

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 September 2018

Lydekker Park. Picture: Harpenden Town Council.

Lydekker Park. Picture: Harpenden Town Council.

Archant

A small park in a corner of Harpenden which holds a lot of history; do you know the backstory behind one of Harpenden’s premier green spaces?

Watch out for water scorpions! Photo taken at Lydekker Park in Harpenden.Watch out for water scorpions! Photo taken at Lydekker Park in Harpenden.

Lydekker Park is one of the oldest recreation grounds in Harpenden and was formally part of the grounds at Harpenden Lodge, which was bought by one of Harpenden’s oldest families, the Lydekkers, in 1857.

The last survivor of the Lydekker family, Miss Hilda Lydekker, lived in Harpenden Lodge until 1979. Before her death, Hilda had entered into an agreement with the former Harpenden Urban District Council that the 11 acres of land attached to the lodge should become private open space.

After her death in 1987, St Albans council took over the agreement and arranged with the executors of her will to keep a total of three acres of public open space with a car park. Thus, Lydekker Park was born.

In 2012, after much campaigning, Lydekker Park was entrusted into the ownership of Harpenden Town Council back from the district council.

The council created a five-year management plan for the park from 2016 to 2020. Two visual boards were installed in the park in August 2017, which tells you all about the park and the wildlife that inhabits it.

There are vast amounts of wildlife to look out for in the ponds. Frogs and toads, along with dragonflies, ducks and even water scorpions can be seen if you look closely enough.

Friends Of Lydekker helps to keep the park intact and make sure it remains a friendly and well-managed space for all to enjoy. The volunteer group meets four to five times a year to address any issues to ensure a safe atmosphere for residents, regular dog walkers and the schoolchildren that use the park as a cut-through to school.

In July 2017, Lydekker Park was awarded its very first Green Flag Award, joining Harpenden Common as one of the UK’s very best open spaces.

Have you been able to catch a glimpse of the wildlife in Lydekker? If so send us a picture at enjoyharpendenmore@archant.co.uk

If you are interested in joining Friends Of Lydekker, send them an email at friendsoflydekker@mail.com

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