Due to the cold weather everything seems to be late this year but in May with a weekend free we decided to try and find some bluebells and rapeseed. Some research revealed that one of the best places to see bluebells close to London was in the Chilterns, namely the Ashridge Estate National Trust property. The Ashridge Estate bluebells are rightfully famous and since Ewelina and I both love photography we were keen to visit. Whilst we did take plenty of photographs we also captured some video footage. Video is still fairly new to us but we are both enjoying learning the basics of how to capture footage and then how to edit it all together.
For this one night trip away our accommodation was Town Farm Campsite, somewhere we have visited once before. It’s based in Ivinghoe and is ideally situated for a visit to see the Bluebells at Ashridge.
Ashridge Estate Bluebells – Visitor Information
The Ashridge Estate covers 5000 acres of woodlands and commons which is managed by The National Trust. The main visitor centre and car park can be found close to The Bridgewater Monument which can be seen from some distance away. Built in 1832 it celebrates the Duke of Bridgewater and his canal development work. We found the car parking area to be perfectly suitable for large motorhomes with no sign of height barriers.
A quick chat to the staff revealed that the best Ashridge wood to see Ashridge Estate bluebells at their best was Dockey Wood. Dockey Wood also has its own small car park but it’s also very close to the main car park should the closest one be full. Feeling lazy and also because we had lots of camera gear to carry we parked in the closest car park. As we approached to our right we could see carpets of blue, it really did look beautiful. Trying to get the perfect photo is not easy especially with the number of people around trying to do the same thing. Also the colour purple is often one of the hardest for digital cameras to replicate well.
*Note since we visited they have apparently begun to charge people for visiting the bluebells. It seems they are saying the sheer number of people visiting and the chaos caused was the reason for the charge. If you are interested to know more you can read the following article entitled Protecting the bluebells at Ashridge.
Ashridge Estate Bluebells – What else did we see locally?
After spending a couple of hours in the woods capturing the Ashridge Estate Bluebells we decided to get pitched up at Town Farm Campsite. Since the weather in the afternoon was not that good we decided to take it easy and remain inside the motorhome. I processed some of the photographs from the morning and Ewelina and I also took a quick look at some of the video footage we had captured.
On Sunday we woke up early and checked out of the campsite. We then visited an old friend, Pitstone Windmill where we found some yellow rapeseed too. Pitstone Windmill is also owned by the National Trust. It’s believed to date from the early 17th century and is Grade II listed. It’s one of the oldest surviving windmills in the UK though it was completely rebuilt after it was damaged by a storm in 1902.
We then walked along the nearby canal before finding another field of rapeseed to photograph. The Chilterns has a number of good walking options. The Ridgeway Long Distance path runs very close to the campsite. At 87 miles long it runs from Ivinghoe Beacon (close to the campsite) to Avebury World Heritage Site. I’ve also previously walked near Turville which is well known as the filming location of The Vicar of Dibley. The Cobstone windmill in Turville also featured in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
If you happen to want to see a great bluebell wood I can recommend Dockey Wood at Ashridge Estate. It’ become even more popular since I visited and can be very busy, especially at weekends. If you can I would recommend a trip during the week for a less hectic experience. For a better idea of what the weekend was like and too see more of the Ashridge Estate Bluebells why not watch our video (see below).