Popular with small mammals, and a certain wader… EMSFORD SPRINGS, A
Lwell-kept secret in Hertfordshire, is a former watercress farm and market garden which was in operation between 1860 and 1966. Goods were harvested here that were sold at the infamous Covent Garden in London. The reserve recently featured on BBC Springwatch, airing a survey on Water Shrews and other small mammals. But the site is also popular with Green Sandpipers, who feed on shrimps that are plentiful in the freshwater lagoons, the surface of which does not freeze over in the winter months. This important bird habitat; managed by the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, is locked but the key is available from the warden, who lives adjacent to the site’s entrance. Once inside, visitors can enjoy a pleasant walk around the reserve through willow woodland, meadow, marsh and beside the River Lee. Birds that may be seen here include Mandarin, Little Egret, Snipe, Kingfisher, and particularly Kestrels, who have nested here, producing more than 30 young over the years.