The Woodland Trust's Heartwood Forest is impressive, 345 Ha (850 acres) of newly planted trees and open grassland, plus some existing old woodland, located on both sides of the B651 road between Sandridge and Wheathampstead. ( Woodland Trust's Heartwood website)
Nomansland Common borders Heartwood to the north, it is managed by St Albans Council.
'How to get here' directions to Heartwood . Both sites are good for 'farmland' birds at all times of year. The whole area has open access with a network of over 20km of paths, as shown on the map. The free car parks are marked in red, the Heartwood car park is accessed from the B651 Wheathampstead Road and the Nomansland car park is on Ferrars Lane. Other pedestrian access gates are marked in red on the map. Click to enlarge map
The 'Magical wood' and the ridge to the west and south of Hill End Farm are good places for raptors and owls.(Note the farmhouse complex and surrounding grass fields are not part of Heartwood and are private). There is no natural water on site, but volunteers have created a small wet/damp area on the Heartwood east side marked with a blue symbol on the map.
The first trees were planted at Heartwood in the winter 2009/10 in the south western sector. Tree planting has continued each year, over 500,000 trees have been planted by volunteers, only the area in the north east remains to be planted. The map below shows when each area was planted with trees, The area in white with red lines was planted last winter (2015/6).
The Woodland Trust has retained the existing woods, Langley wood, Pismire Spring, Well and Pudlers wood and Round wood. There are also extensive areas of grassland/wild flower meadows.
You can read more about Heartwood its developing wildlife and the HNHS/WT Environmental Monitoring group here.
More information is also in the Woodland Trust leaflet Visit Heartwood Forest.
Map showing when each area of Heartwood was planted between 2009 and 2016