Protecting the bluebells at Ashridge

Carpet of bluebells in Dockey Wood at Ashridge, Herts

Ashridge is one of the most popular places in the country to see bluebells, with thousands of people coming from far and wide to enjoy the dense carpet of flowers each spring. Our job is protecting the plants without spoiling your experience, which is why we apply a small charge at the busiest times.

Continuing to protect Dockey Wood

Four years ago, we started charging for entrance to this part of the estate at peak times during the bluebell season. The money raised goes towards the cost of protecting these beloved flowers and helps us to spread visitors more evenly.

This year we’ll be charging on Sat 25 and Sun 26 Apr, Sat 2 and Sun 3 May, Fri 8, Sat 9 and Sun 10 May. It’ll cost £3 per adult and £1 per child but National Trust members will be free. The charge will only apply between 10 am and 4 pm – the wood will be free to enter at all other times.

To help you to get the most out of your visit, we’ll have rangers and volunteers available at peak times to talk to you about our work and how we take care of this special place. They are brimming with knowledge about wildflowers and this piece of ancient woodland, so feel free to ask them any questions you have.

There are also a number of routes across the wider estate, including the Old Copse Walk, which host vast displays of blue flowers. A bluebell walks guide is available from the visitor centre for £1 and highlights a number of family-friendly routes away from the crowds at Dockey Wood.

How you can play a part in looking after bluebells

To most of us, a sea of bluebells is an irresistible sight in spring. It’s tempting to step into the sea of blue for a photo opportunity; however, you can get just as good a shot by keeping your feet on the footpath.

Bluebells have soft, succulent leaves that are particularly sensitive to being trodden on. Once the leaves are damaged, they’re unable to absorb the sun and the plants cannot photosynthesise and die back. By staying on the paths, you’ll help us to maintain the dense carpet of flowers for years to come.

As tempting as it may be, picking bluebells is against the law. If you want to take a bluebell souvenir home with you, please visit our shop instead. It stocks a wide variety of products including bluebell scented candles, porcelain, mugs, cards and magnets.

Blubells have delicate petals
Close up of a bluebell at Ashridge, Herts
Blubells have delicate petals

Joining the National Trust to help conserve Dockey Wood

National Trust membership is an affordable way to enjoy days out for the whole family. With over 500 properties, 250,000 hectares of land and 775 miles of coastline to enjoy, there is something for everyone. By joining on site you can also support the conservation work here at Ashridge, with every penny you donate funding our essential work, including helping our rangers protect the bluebells for years to come.

You can join the National Trust with any of our staff during your visit to Dockey Wood, and if you do, your entry will be free. You can enjoy the benefits of your membership as soon as we have filled in the forms.

For more information, to get involved or to join the National Trust you can pop into the Ashridge Visitor Centre any day of the week between 10am and 5pm.