Spring is officially here, which means now is the perfect time to get out there and appreciate all that this beautiful season has to offer.
From our base in Hertfordshire, we’re lucky enough to be able to explore the very best of the natural world right on our doorstep, and the county offers plenty of choices when it comes to great walks. Hiking gives you the chance to see the world in a more sustainable way. Read on to discover the best Hertfordshire hikes to enjoy in spring…
Ashridge Estate is a National Trust site that is particularly breathtaking come springtime. Ashridge Estate offers some 5,000 acres to explore. It’s nestled in the Chiltern Hills in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The working estate is home to a diverse range of wildlife – return in summer and you’ll see lots of rare butterflies, whilst their rutting fallow deer can be observed in autumn. Ancient trees, rolling chalk downlands, and lush meadows also feature here. During spring, Ashridge is covered in a carpet of beautiful bluebells.
Exploring Ashridge Estate on foot is the best way to see all the natural wonders on offer. You can take on the estate’s popular boundary trail, which covers 17 miles in total.
Alternatively, you can plan your own route, and with over 80 miles of designated footpaths and bridle paths in the Ashridge countryside, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Find out more about the Ashridge Estate here.
Hitchwood Bluebell Wood
Can’t get enough of this season’s most vibrant flower, the bluebell? Take your hike to Hitchwood Bluebell Wood in Preston, just outside Hitchin. Here bluebells come into bloom in late April or early May. As well as enjoying the waymarked bluebell trail, you can wind through the woods your own way to admire the beautiful scenery.
If you’re hiking with the little ones this spring, Hitchwood is the perfect family-friendly trek. As well as easy walking trails and interesting sights, the wood is home to a number of wooden dens just waiting to be explored.
You can access Hitchwood Bluebell Wood by heading to 6 Hitchwood Ln, Preston, Hitchin SG4 7RY. Alternatively, click here for directions.
This National Trust site covers four connected countryside areas, namely Sundon Hills, Moleskin and Markham Hills, Sharpenhoe Clappers and Smithcombe Hills. Each area offers great hikes through ancient woodland. Those looking for an interesting route that showcases the best of Sharpenhoe should start their walk from the Sharpenhoe Clappers car park on Sharpenhoe Road.
Here GPS Cycle and Walking Routes explains more about what to expect from this 3-mile circular route:
“Visit this classic chalk escarpment in the Chilterns and enjoy wonderful views across this beautiful area. This circular walk makes use of the John Bunyan Trail and the Icknield Way Path to take you on a tour of the Sharpenhoe Clappers and the Smithcombe Hills… head north towards the Iron Age Hill Fort and beech wood which sits atop the area. In the summer months, the chalk grasslands are covered in pretty wildflowers which attract a variety of butterflies. Look out for orchids, primroses and an uncommon rose, Rosa stylosa, found in scrub areas. “
Sharpenhoe’s National Trust site is open from dawn until dusk, meaning you can revisit this popular hiking spot at various times of the day to see something new in terms of wildlife and scenery every time.
Find out more about Sharpenhoe and how to get there by clicking here.