I have always dreamed of walking through one of Europe’s bluebell-carpeted woodlands. Today, only 40 minutes from central London, I finally did!
Bluebell woods occur in ancient beech forests throughout Great Britain and Europe, and actually indicate a forest’s age. Generally, these swaths of bluebells occur naturally in woodland 400 years or older! I couldn’t help but imagine ancient kings and poets alike exploring these whimsical paths. I can certainly imagine Keats taking a stroll or two through Hertfordshire’s Romantic woods and listening to a nightingale’s song.
With true Keatsian poignancy, these beautiful blossoms last only a few weeks, fading like a blue sky before a storm and disappearing into a blanket of green. But thankfully, they return every year between late April and early May. We were lucky to come across them this late in the season thanks to a cool spring.
To access these woodlands, it certainly helps to have a car or, better yet, a guide who knows their way around! We took a quick 30 minute train into Berkhamsted, but then used a car to reach the bluebells themselves.
The woods are tranquil and filled with gentle birdsong…and maybe a few baby lambs belting in the background, too!
Once you’ve seen enough of the bluebells (though I could see myself wasting away a whole
day week here), you can enjoy a leisurely walk through the nearby Ashridge estate. With winding paths, ancient trees, and beautiful lookout points, it’s a lovely way to spend a couple of hours!
We finished-off our day in Hertfordshire with a quick visit to nearby Aldbury, a picturesque village with beautiful tudor houses and thatched roofs. Of course, my favourite parts were the roses and blossoming vines creeping up them.
But its the blankets of bluebells that will lure me back every spring!