Bluebells at Ashridge Estate

Carpet of bluebells in Dockey Wood at Ashridge, Herts

Ashridge is one of the best places in the country to see bluebells, with many people returning each year to enjoy the dense carpet of flowers each spring. Here are our top tips on the best places to visit on the estate to see bluebells, and how to help us care for these delicate plants.

 

What's so special about bluebells?

The presence of bluebells is a sign that a woodland is ancient and has been present in the landscape for at least 400 years. Bluebells, and other woodland flowers, don't spread to new areas easily or quickly, so it is vital to protect them.

Woodland flowers like bluebells come out in spring. This means that they are able to make the most of the available light before the leaves appear on the trees and start to cast too much shade. Bluebells are also an important source of pollen and nectar for butterflies, bees and hoverflies at the start of the season.

When can I see bluebells? #BluebellWatch

The plants will start to flower in mid-April and are normally at their best during the last week of April and first week of May. Our team stay on the lookout for bluebells and regularly update our Facebook page with information of the best places to see bluebells on the Ashridge Estate. There is no need to book to visit. Please see our plan your visit article below to get the most from your day out. 

Where can I see bluebells?

We have two waymarked routes from our Visitor Centre where you can walk through the woodland to see stunning displays of bluebells. Call into the Visitor Centre and talk to our friendly team to find out the best spots to see bluebells on the day you visit.

Bluebell season is very busy on Ashridge Estate, and we advise visitors to visit off peak where possible. If our car parks are full then we ask you to kindly leave and try again another time. Please do not fly-park on the verges as this causes a lot of damage and can impede traffic flow.

How can I help care for the 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.

Path erosion damage at Ashridge Estate

Protecting precious bluebells

The delicate soft leaves of bluebell plants are easily damaged. Help us care for the bluebells by sticking to the paths. Watch your step and the bluebells will continue to flower for years to come.

Carpet of bluebells in Dockey Wood at Ashridge, Herts

Enjoying beautiful bluebells

Every year our woods are transformed for a few weeks by a sea of these delicate blue flowers. With your support we can continue to care for this special place.

Bluebells are particularly sensitive plants. 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

The natural life-cycle of a woodland

In some areas there maybe more brambles than you have seen before. This is a natural process due to the thinning of the woodland we have carried out in recent years which allows more light onto the forest floor allowing the brambles to flourish. Brambles are a good food source for wildlife and an important part of the woodland ecology. As the tree canopy spreads into the available space, the amount of natural light reaching the forest floor dimishes causing the brambles to naturally die back and the bluebells to flower once more.