Bluebells at Dockey Wood

blueOriginally Dockey Wood was part of the extensive Ivinghoe common running down to the village of Ringshall, in Tudor times. The common was an open grassland with gorse and scrub predominating. There was probably a copse of trees at this spot which was added to by the Bridgewaters when they purchased the land in the 1600’s, making it an ancient woodland. They no doubt planted oak trees as a commercial crop for local building or the ship trade. The bluebell wood is shown on the 1762 Estate map when it was smaller than today. The road to Ringshall was not built until the early 1800’s, before which it was a mere cart track at the edge of the common, going to Ward’s Comb and onto Dunstable. The trees were felled over the centuries and replanted. The latest oak trees were planted some fifty years ago and would be thinned out in due course – the normal arrangement for a plantation. In April 2016 Dockey Wood became nationally famous for being the first National Trust property to introduce a charge to view the bluebells, and the resulting media interest was considerable. Every year many hundreds of people would visit the site each day – visitors travelled from as far afield as Canada and Lichtenstein – and the small wood became over crowded, and damage was caused to the plants. The flowering of the bluebells creates a carpet like effect with a dense blue haze, which combined with a delicate fragrance creates a heavenly experience. To create the perfect picture all of the undergrowth and fallen debris was removed to give a sanitised result – not normally the case with the natural wildness of the Ashridge estate. The name Dockey is likely to be a corruption of the word donkey. The long distance pack train trade in Tudor times used donkeys or mules on regular routes to transport letters and goods into London. The convoy would consist of some twenty animals with two drivers, and the wood was no doubt used as an overnight stopping place for the men and donkeys. Place names were given by the local people and were descriptive of the place. Another name for an overnight stance was Coldharbour.

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3 Responses to Bluebells at Dockey Wood

  1. The bluebells were amazing over the May bank holiday weekend


  2. Very busy at Dockey Wood


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