One of the highlights of English spring time are the bluebells. First come the snow drops, later the daffodils and towards the end of April, beginning of May, come the bluebells.
One of my favourite places to see bluebells is Dockey Woods, part of the Ashridge Estate, a National Trust property.
Ashridge Estate is a country estate and stately home in Hertfordshire, in the Chilterns. The estate comprises 5,000 acres (20 km2) of woodlands
(known as Ashridge Forest), commons and chalk downland.
We followed the three-in-one bluebell walk which takes you around the estate for a leisurely 4.5 mile walk around the estate, how leisurely depends on how long you stop to take photo’s, and whether you detour for more bluebells.
After passing some lovely views down the hill to the village of Aldbury, you walk past the Old Copse, an ancient beech woods with blue bells in their natural setting. While not as dense as the bluebells that we will see later, its our first real field of bluebells, so we spend a while.
We then walk through the estate, along bridleways, through woods, coming across a group of deer. We continue on, past kids doing their Duke of Edinburgh award, couples walking their dogs, families out enjoying the countryside. At the other end of the estate, lies Dockey Woods, a plantation of beech and oak trees with one of the most dense carpets of bluebells I’ve seen.
We were lucky, we were early enough that the woods
weren’t crowded with people, but late enough that there were lots of bluebells to be taken from all angles. A walk around the woods provide many interest view points.
A ten minute walk along the road west of Dockey Woods leads to another small woods with lots of bluebells. It’s less formal than Dockey woods and a bit more open, which when the sun finally comes out is a beautiful sight.
At this stage, we were pretty much “bluebell’d” out, and walked the mile or two back along Duncombe Terrace towards the Monument and the tea shop for a well deserved coffee and slice of cake.
For details of the walk, follow this link: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/trails/three-in-one-bluebell-walk-at-ashridge
We caught the train to From London Euston to Tring station, then caught a local taxi to the Ashridge Estate. We followed the three-in-one bluebell walk, see link above. The first part of the walk was well sign posted where it overlapped with the short bluebell walk. From there to Dockey Woods, we broadly followed the right direction, but luckily there were lots of other walkers who knew where the bluebell woods were.
There is a cafe at the visitors centre.