Looking forward to spring at Ashridge

Catkins at Ashridge Herts

The lengthening days tell us that spring is on the way on the Ashridge Estate. The birds are becoming more vocal and the first buds are appearing on the trees.

Spring is a wonderful time of year to explore Ashridge's 5000 acres, the woods are bursting back to life after a long cold winter, unveiling fresh new shoots and promising new flowers.

We can look forward to lighter evenings and more time to walk in our favourite places, looking at things with a fresh eye. Maybe it's time to try a different route or walk the hills instead of woodland. Wherever you choose will change quickly as the season moves on and the days get warmer.

Underfoot

There is so much to discover at Ashridge but it is easy to miss the first stirrings of spring unless you are really looking for them.

As you walk one of your favourite routes, just take a minute to see if there are any tiny shoots showing amongst the winter debris on the edges of the paths.

We don't have banks of snowdrops here but there are a few small patches all over the estate. There are also lots of lesser celandine amongst the trees. You might also spot wood sorrel, wood anemone and yellow archangel on your journey.

Look out for this spring favourite
Lesser celandine at Ashridge Herts
Look out for this spring favourite

Soon there will be wild garlic, bluebells and, if you venture onto the Ivinghoe Hills, Pasque flowers.

Overhead

You will hear the birds before you see them as they get into their stride before the dawn chorus really starts. They will soon be nest-building so you might see them carrying small twigs as they fly overhead.

Wood Warbler at Ashridge Herts

Dawn Chorus

On the 5 May and 12 May our rangers will be setting off at dawn with a party of enthusiasts to listen to the dawn chorus and possibly spot the birds as they sing. If you don't manage to book a place on our guided walks, you may like to try going out on your own but you will need to be up very early.

On the move

At this time of year it is easier to spot deer because the trees are still bare and the undergrowth has died back. They are timid creatures so will not come close of their own accord but if you walk quietly, you may well surprise them.

Deer early on a spring morning
Deer on a winters morning at Ashridge Herts
Deer early on a spring morning

If you do decide to do a dawn chorus walk, that time of day is also good for spotting wildlife. Most wild animals will move more freely when they know that the majority of humans are still abed.

Walkers in Dockey Wood at Ashridge Herts

Gentle Stoll - Bluebells

A volunteer-led guided walk through Ashridge at one of the most scenic times of the year. Come learn about the huge variety of flora in the area. This event is a drop in session, £3 per person no booking required