My Favourites heart

My Favourites

Save your favourites with a single click and you’ll never forget a brilliant Muddy recommendation.


Get the inside line on what’s unique, special and new near you, straight to your inbox across 25 counties

Back to Days out

Helen Reeley’s best places to hug trees in Herts

Hello March. This morning the sky was ribboned with rhubarb pink and my garden was spangled with frost. What better time to warm up for spring by getting out to embrace the wonders of our county. Helen Reeley, garden designer and lover of all things arboreal, has kindly shared some things to look out for, together with top tips about the best places to see them. Over to you, Helen!

Early spring and winter trees can be enjoyed for their natural form and bark once the leaves have dropped. But it’s is all about the bark isn’t it? Get close, reach out and touch the silky smooth surface of Prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry) and be amazed by the colour. Is it red? Raisin? Or maybe boysenberry? It could be any of these shades depending on the light but this one is definitely worth a stroke. 

Prunus serrula                                                                                                                                                   Photo: Helen Reeley

The white bark of Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii (silver birch) looks rather ghostly in low light. It has graceful drooping branches and warm yellow leaves in the autumn but the delicate peeling white bark makes this tree a March winner. 

Silver birch                                                                                                                                                       Photo: Helen Reeley

The winter flowering Hamamelis (witch hazel) isn’t exactly a tree but it’s a very large shrub and needs the space of a small tree to be appreciated. Its spicy scented spidery flowers remind us that spring really is on its way.

Witch hazel                                                                                                                                                         Photo: Helen Reeley

Here are some of my favourite places for walking, and tree hugging:

 Heartwood, St Albans

This is a newly planted forest in Sandridge, near St Albans. Get there soon and then visit regularly, or just once a year, to see how this new forest develops.


The Beale Arboretum, West Lodge Park


This is in the grounds of a hotel in Hadley Wood but it is open every afternoon to members of the public. You can also book for afternoon tea.

West Lodge Park

Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted

Golden valley, Ashridge Estate

Look out for the ancient tree guided walks. Free public access.


 Brocket Hall, Welwyn

Brocket Hall Estate

Public footpaths through the Estate – but why not stop for tea?

Brocket Hall

Tring Park 

Tring Park

Tring Park

Find more ideas here

Days outOutdoors

Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Back Home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Herts & Beds

Reader Treats Just For You!