Where is the best place in the Chilterns to see bluebells?
Everyone has their own favourite place to go and see the bluebells in April and May. The best bluebell woods are generally also the oldest woodlands. New plantations are often marked out by planting in straight rows and a lack of woodland flowers in springtime.
Around one fifth of the Chilterns is covered in woods, mostly on the tops of the chalk hills. The area is famous for its beech trees used up till recently in the furniture trade. The fact that the beech woods have been maintained here over centuries has also allowed the bluebells to flourish.
Generations who grew up in the Chilterns remember fondly the ritual of gathering great handfuls of bluebells to put in jars all around the house. Actually they are not good cut flowers as they wilt rather quickly. These days, and certainly after the Wildlife and Countryside Act in 1981, we know to take only photographs and leave instead the wonderful memories of the bluebells for others to discover.
One of the most visited bluebell sites in the Chilterns is actually a plantation called Dockey Wood on the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire managed specifically for bluebells by the National Trust. There’s usually an ice cream van there and a handful of photographers, but the bluebells are spectacular.