Dockey Wood is part of the Ashridge estate but it has its own car park (see the end of the post re parking). It’s only just around the corner and you could walk between the two if you wanted a relatively long walk. For the full review of Ashridge click here.
Each year the entire Ashridge estate is utterly transformed by a sea of Bluebells. You can see huge quantities of them all over the estate but they are at their most spectacular in this little bit of woodland. When people say that there is a carpet of blue they really do mean it. Stupidly I didn’t take my big camera and I don’t think my phone has done the colour justice.
The main reason that you are directed to go to Dockey Wood is not just because there’s such an intensity of Bluebells (I swear there must be millions of them) but also because it’s quite a self-contained and managed area. You are reminded in various places how delicate these little flowers are and the National Trust go to great lengths to protect them. This section of the woods isn’t actually that big – it took us about 40 minutes of meandering to cover all of the different footpaths, but that actually makes the effect more dramatic. There are very clearly marked footpaths which have been edged so that no-one “accidentally” walks amongst the flowers. Some of the flowers have escaped the barriers and they’ve been trodden to death so it’s a very good job the barriers are up! Don’t worry, they just piled up logs so they’re not intrusive. The footpaths are relatively pushchair friendly; there are roots etc and I imagine it would get muddy in wet weather, but they’re flat and firm.
Dogs on leads are allowed within Dockey Woods but please make sure they do remain on a lead. A rogue, excited dog would completely destroy the plants.
If you want to see the Bluebells without the intensity of crowds then the main estate visitor centre is selling a map for £1 which shows you all the best spots. You’ll still be able to see masses of flowers, the woods really are covered in them. Even on the drive up to the car park the woodland floor is just covered in them.
Once you’ve had a look at the Bluebells then don’t forget to explore the wider woodland as well – it’s a lovely family walk. Starting back from the car park there are several routes (including a circular one that takes about an hour) that take you around this part of the estate. Dogs are allowed within this section of woodland as well, but should remain on the lead.
We only managed to walk a small section of the path before smallest child got hangry so we’ll come back another time. It’s more rugged than the “main” part of the Ashridge estate, but that also means it’s quieter.
FREE Except on the following dates and times: Sat 27 and Sun 28 Apr and Sat 4, Sun 5 and Mon 6 May from 10 am and 4 pm. It’ll cost £3 per adult and £1 per child but National Trust members will be free.
Free. There is a small car park directly opposite the entrance to the wood. Even on a school day morning it was nearly full, but because the woods are quite small there is a fairly quick turnover. HP4 1NE should get you near the Dockey Woods car park. There are also two additional car parks on Beacon Road in the Ringshall direction.
None on site. There are toilets at the Ashridge visitor centre though.
None and you cannot really have a picnic near the Bluebells. You could have a picnic in the woodland area though. A picnic is a great idea at Ashridge though!