Looking forward to spring at Ashridge
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.
However many times you have visited Ashridge there will always be something new to discover, somewhere on our 5,000 acres.
As the first signs of spring emerge 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.
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.
Soon there will be wild garlic, bluebells and, if you venture onto the Ivinghoe Hills, Pasque flowers.
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.
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.
If you do decide to do a dawn chorus walk, that time of day is also good for spotting wild-life. Most wild animals will move more freely when they know that the majority of humans are still abed.
Amongst the trees
If your favourite walks are amongst the trees, have you ever wondered about them - how old they are, how each one survives in the overall crowd? Their care is part of the conservation of the whole estate and they are cared for by our great team of rangers. On 4 March there is a new exhibition opening here all about the trees of Ashridge so do come along and find out about some of our more famous trees and their history.