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Things to see and do at Holmwood Common

A visitor in a green jacket walks a dog along a path
Things to do on your visit | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Take a short stroll around Fourwents Ponds or enjoy the longer circular walk when you visit Holmwood Common. Discover sunny glades and colourful berries, as well as the perfect picnic spot to watch the sunset surrounded by birds of all kinds.

The circular walk

Savour the delights of winter when you discover the diverse woodland of Holmwood on foot. The circular walk offers a hardcore footpath to walk on whatever the weather and will take you through all the different areas of the common, with lots of great spaces to explore on the way.

The Holmwood Common family activity trail follows the circular path around the common highlighting some of its history and wildlife. At a gentle pace you'll be on the go for just over two hours.

Woods and ponds

Take a refreshing short stroll around Fourwents Pond or venture on through the woods, where you’ll walk beneath ancient oaks and discover sunny glades and smaller pools. Remember it can be wet underfoot, especially during the winter.

Take a moment to savour the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Smell the earthy woodland floor; feel the knobbly or sometimes smooth bark of the trees; listen out for birds – can you recognise any of their tuneful songs?

A horse rider at Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire in spring
Explore the bridleways at Holmwood Common | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Watch and listen for birds

Holmwood Common is a great place to go bird spotting. See if you can spot any of the following that like to visit:

  • Buzzards: you can often hear the cat-like cries of buzzards far above you as they soar in the sky.
  • Kestrels: easily identified as a small bird that hovers above the fields hunting for small mammals.
  • Woodpeckers: the drumming of spotted woodpeckers is unmistakeable. The chuckling ‘yaffle’ of a green woodpecker is also notable. They like to hunt for ants on grass and will fly off when disturbed.
  • Water birds: don’t forget Fourwents pond as a place to check out the elegant herons, the merry coots and chuckling moorhens. You may also spot some more glamorous guests such as shelduck or widgeon.

Family fun at Holmwood Common

Holmwood Common has plenty of fun woody areas so you can get the family stuck into these activities:

  • Climb a tree: scramble up and see how far you can go.
  • Go foraging: collect nuts, acorns and berries. See how many you can collect and identify. Score extra points for the rare items – juniper berries, alder cones, wild cherry or yew berries. Remember, no matter how tasty it looks, don’t eat anything unless you’re sure it’s safe.
  • Measure the girth: put your arms around a tree trunk and see how big it is. How many friends or family members have to join in to reach all around? Which is the fattest tree in the wood?
  • Hunt for bugs: examine the bark and see what creepy crawlies are there. What sort of tree has the greatest variety? 
  • Bark rubbing: take some paper and crayons. Hold the paper onto the bark and rub to reveal the pattern. Which tree makes the most interesting pattern?

Horse riding

Trot along the network of public bridleways and permissive horse rides – you can see so much more from the saddle.

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Discover more at Holmwood Common

Find out how to get to Holmwood Common, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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