The Firs is a 1.32 hectare avenue of Limes and Pink Chestnuts which once formed part of the tree lined access drive to the Gilbey's estate. There is a surfaced path through the site making it a well used route to local schools.
Three avenues were planned, with a lodge house and large gates at the start of each. These were all built (the lodges housed Sir Walter's servants) but only the lodge at 52 Thorley Lane survives. The beginning of the 1st World War prevented work on the mansion starting: Sir Walter died in November 1914, after which his plans were abandoned. The Firs is the only avenue to survive - and is only part of the original pathway, the rest being removed to make way for housing.
The 1.32 hectare (3.11 acre) linear strip is a popular route to the local college, schools and into Bishop's Stortford. Most of the site is managed by East Herts Council with a small part behind the cemetery being managed by Bishop's Stortford Town Council.
Local Residents have been instrumental in conserving and raising the profile of this interesting and well used open space. Their commitment and offer of voluntary support over recent years has prompted the Council to define works for the future and to formally acknowledge this valuable community interest. The considerable work already undertaken in partnership with residents and the voluntary activity on site has already had a positive effect on reducing anti-social behaviour. Works have included the establishment of new trees and adapting maintenance regimes to enhance wildlife habitats.
New - The Firs Greenspace Action Plan 2017-2022
After reviewing your comments on the draft management plan we have created the final version of The Firs Greenspace Action Plan. This outlines in more detail the aspirations and objectives we have for the site for the next five years.
You can read the final version of the management plan here The Firs Greenspace Action Plan 2017-2022 [1MB] . This new management plan looks to further develop the habitats and biodiversity of the site while retaining its historic value. The objective is to improve and enhance The Firs for all to enjoy.
- To promote awareness and interest in The Firs
- To improve the visitor experience and enhance opportunities for informing and educating
- To conserve and enhance historical features (the avenue of trees) for visitor enjoyment
- To protect and enhance the biodiversity that can be found in The Firs
- To undertake proactive, rotational vegetation management to benefit people and wildlife
- To formally recognise and support volunteer activity and to ensure all involved operate towards achievement of the Greenspace Action Plan (GAP)
- To secure external funding to ensure the viability of capital works
- To ensure ongoing maintenance costs are financially sustainable
Bishop's Stortford Parks and Beyond Walks
The Firs is also included in the Southern Country Park & Beyond 2013-2018 [5MB] five year greenspace action plan and is part of the linked walking routes between five parks in Bishop's Stortford.
You can also explore the south west corner of Bishop's Stortford by following Parks and Beyond circular walks - these link together the five East Herts Council managed open spaces - Southern Country Park, Northern Parkland, Thorley Wedge, Bishop's Park and The Firs.