14 of the best bluebell walks in Herts and Beds
Blooming 'eck! Bluebells are popping up in their thousands across Herts and Beds. Here's where to find the best of them on your sprightly springtime walk.
Spring is in the air, and isn’t it gorgeous! We’re so lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods in our area, so there are loads of places to get your fix of the little blue fellas. Here’s our pick of the hotspots to visit in Herts and Beds.
Heartwood Forest, Sandridge, St Albans
This new forest has had a whopping 600,000 trees planted amongst pockets of ancient woodland and has become one of the Woodland Trust’s most popular sites. Head to Langley Wood to see the best bluebell displays, but do take care where you put your feet and stick to the paths as over an acre of these sensitive little beauties have been lost in recent years due to visitors venturing off the beaten track.
Sherrardspark Wood, Welwyn Garden City
These 200 acres of volunteer-managed woodland are buzzing with wildlife amongst the ancient oak and hornbeam trees – so old is the wood in fact, that it is mentioned in the Domesday Book! Usually there’s a programme of warden-guided walks, where you can learn more about the history of the woods and the seasonal changes, so keep checking the site for updates.
Hawkins Wood, Royston [CURRENTLY CLOSED BUT KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEBSITE FOR UPDATES]
Another ancient woodland and nature reserve, Hawkins Wood is separated into north, south and central sections by (what are believed to be) medieval banks and ditches. There’s tonnes of birdlife to be found here, as well as the odd brown hare and, obviously, an abundance of bluebells.
Whippendell Wood, Watford
Follow the footpath from Rousebarn Lane through Cassiobury Park to find this pretty woodland spot, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Look out for the old WWII bomb craters – call me soft, but when filled with a sea of beautiful bluebells it seems like nature’s way of paying tribute to the fallen.
Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted
My local woodlands, on the Ashridge Estate are just fabulous at bluebell time, and we make sure to visit every year for the obligatory family bluebell photoshoot! There are two waymarked routes from the Visitor Centre where you can see stunning displays. And, if you want to avoid the crowds look out for the smaller carparks dotted around the outskirts, which offer access to more secluded and less well-trodden areas.
Post Wood, Ware
Dating back to the 1600s (it’s believed!), this really is an ancient woodland and it’s very well known for its little blue visitors in spring. There’s a circular walk around the wood itself, or you can cut across the woodland glade, where you’re likely to spot some pretty pink anenmones, too. There’s a car park just south of the woods.
Gobions Woods, Potters Bar
You’ll find more ancient woodlands here with bluebells aplenty as well as wood anemones, plus the remnants of some 18th century pleasure gardens.
Panshanger Park, Hertford
Once a privately owned estate, this now Grade II* park and garden only opened to the public in 2014. There’s loads to explore here including remnants of the old estate, as well as wetland and grassland habitats, but it’s at Lady Hughes Wood that you’ll find the best bluebell displays.
Landpark Wood, Whipsnade
While there are fab displays here, the woods aren’t extensive. You can take this in as part of a longer jaunt though. There’s a circular walk from Whipsnade Heath (park the car here) via Dunstable Downs. You can also check out the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral en route.
Puntoe Wood, Bedford
On the outskirts of urban Bedford, just off Mowsbury Park is this unexpectedly natural haven. Although still 25+ acres it’s actually just the remains of a much larger ancient woodland dating back to the Domesday Book. There’s a footpath all the way around from which you can take in the bluebell displays.
The Lodge, Sandy
This RSPB nature reserve is made up of heathland and ancient woodland, which are the perfect habitats for little birdies – of which there are many to spot – and of course, bluebells in the spring. Listen carefully and you might even detect the drumming of a resident woodpecker in the trees or even a cuckoo in the distance! There’s a £4 entrance fee which covers parking (free to RSPB members).
Flitwick Wood, Flitwick
This ancient woodland boasts a variety of flora and fauna including wood spurge and mature oaks to carpets of bluebells in April and May. There are some lovely circular walks to try and keep an eye out for a resident vole or muntjac springing through the woods.
King’s Wood and Rammamere Heath, near Leighton Buzzard
Part of the largest area of deciduous woodland in Bedfordshire, you’ll find primroses and lily-of-the-valley dotted between the swathes of bluebells on this 15th century site, as well as seasonal ponds, the occasional woodpecker and a flurry of butterflies darting amongst the flowers. Sounds rather idyllic, doesn’t it?
Maulden Wood, nr Clophill
Part of the Greensands Ridge, Maulden Wood is one of the largest and most significant ancient woodlands in Bedfordshire. There’s a combination of footpaths, bike trails and bridleways, depending on how you prefer to travel, and you’ll be rewarded with fab views over the countryside of Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay. You’ll also find a picnic area at the end of the Faith Woodland trail.
Every year when I write about bluebell hotspots I receive a flurry of messages about the ones I’ve forgotten. Have I finally nailed a comprehensive list this year, I wonder? Please let me know in the comments if there are any omissions!