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Gobions history to be unearthed

Gobions Woodland is now considered to be of such national importance that a thorough archaeological survey is to be carried out to assess the historical significance of the site. Already a comprehensive ecological survey update is underway.

The archaeological survey will form part of the Gobions Woodland Trust’s bid for Hertitage Lottery funds to help manage the site and pay for future upkeep and restoration.

The Trust also hopes the survey will discover whether more of the original features of Bridgeman’s garden, such as the grotto can be found.  The grotto was probably an artificial ornamental cave designed, like many of the features of Bridgeman's works, to intrigue the first-time visitor.

Records also indicate the existance of an ice house, the exact position of which is unknown.  The ice house was built as an early form of refrigeration using blocks of ice cut from a pond during the winter and providing a means of preserving food over the summer months. 

Plans are being drawn up by the Gobions Woodland Trust to refurbish one of the garden’s water features, currently an overgrown and silted up pond. The pond will be exposed to the light and to the view of visitors by the careful coppicing of hawthorn and an old path connecting it to the east end of the wood will be cleared and made suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. A footbridge over the stream will also be need to be replaced.

The Trust also hope to rebuild the fašade of Bridgeman's small Greek-style temple which stood at the end of the canal as a focal point of that vista.

All the proposed restoration work would be confined to the east of the avenue which runs north south from the Folly Arch. To the west of that line, the Trust’s work will be confined to maintaining the existing paths and continuing with the regeneration of the woodland.

More details of the Lottery bid and the Trusts plans can be found in the latest edition of the Gobions Woodland Trust's 1998 report which is reproduced in full on this site.

The report also give details recent surveys of fungi in Gobions which found two species new to Britain and concluded that no other site in Hertfordshire can ‘boast so many rare and unusual species and the site continues to produce new, exciting and interesting finds on a regular basis’.

For illustrations of some of the fungi in Gobions Woodland click here.

The report has details of the latest Millennium Butterfly Survey which includes Gobions Wood. Of the 23 species known to frequent the area, 19 were seen.

Other sections of the Gobions Woodland Trust Friends' Report 1998
Survey of Fungi
Survey of Butterflies
Survey of Households and Users

April 10, 1999

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