Welcome to Bunkers Park
Bunkers Park, as we know it today, started in 1995 when Dacorum Borough Council acquired the land from the Commission for New Towns (later known as English Partnerships). Prior to this, the land had been farmed for many centuries with maps from 1877 showing the field boundaries. The hedgerows along the edges of the park are thought to date back to the 10th century and locally there is evidence of an Iron Age farmstead just to the south west of the Park.
With the land in the possession of the Council, and following work carried out by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, plans were put together in 1997 to identify a vision for the future open space. The Management Plan was finalised by the end of that year and in February 1998, with the help of 200 local residents and 600 local school children, Chambersbury Wood was planted in the fields on the northern side of the Park. The planting was so successful that, 12 years later, it became necessary to thin out some of the trees to allow others to develop to their full potential. The Park extends to 123 acres and, together with Long Deans, forms a leisure area and nature reserve to the east of Hemel Hempstead. The land forms a natural boundary to development and is part of the Green Belt surrounding the town.
Some of the original field names remain, such as Long Saunders (adjoining Bunkers Lane), Bunkers Common and White Field, which are now known as Bottom Field, while Chambersbury Wood is where Winchdells and Hill Field used to be. Mattens are the fenced pastures in the fields once called Winchdells and Rumballs and are now home during summer months to a small herd of Belted Galloway cows from Box Moor Trust. In 2021 we had five heifers and one steer but these have now returned to their winter quarters at Box Moor Trust. We are hoping to welcome more cattle in 2022 but at the date of writing (June 25th) we are waiting for DBC contractors to repair parts of the fence.
UPDATE Jan 2022
Regular users of Bunkers Park will have noticed several rows of hedging in the lower corner of Top Field near the pedestrian gate to Bunkers Lane. The reason for this will become evident later in the year. DBC is about to assume control of the fields on the other side of Bunkers Lane, marked on the map as Pond Field and Long Saunders which, until recently, have been rented to a local farmer. They will form part of Bunkers Park although the actual layout has yet to be decided. The reason for the hedging is to protect the view as vehicle access to the new extension will have to be via the existing Top Field. Bunkers Lane is too narrow for large vehicles and trailers to turn in directly so new, wider gates will be installed on both sides of the lane. The planning of the new area is expected to take place this summer (2022) and the access gates should be installed during the autumn months.
The Map below shows the location of the park with details of its layout, access points and footpaths.
The last working party of Friends of Bunkers Park for 2021/22 took place on Saturday 18th June and these will resume in September. The type of work we undertake ranges from hazel coppicing to tree planting, hedge laying or clearance of undergrowth where necessary. If you would like to join this sociable group for some light work please be at the car park between 9am and 9.15am where you will be made very welcome. All work is supervised by a Woodlands Officer from Dacorum Borough Council and all tools are supplied. Also supplied are tea, coffee and light food including, if we are lucky, home made cake. We usually meet about once a month and work until around midday but there is absolutely no compulsion to stay to the end. The session scheduled for 16th July has been cancelled and there will not be one in August. Dates from September onwards will be added in due course.
This is a great opportunity to help maintain this wonderful amenity, to meet new friends and to take some gentle exercise.