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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Friday, 30 April 2021

Friday Walk Tring to Berkhamsted via Dockey Wood and Flat Isley - for a bluebell fest

Book 2, Walk 5c - Tring to Berkhamsted

Length: 21.3 km (13.2 miles) or 11 miles if finishing walk back at Tring
Toughness:  4 out of 10

London Euston: 10-24 hrs   West Midlands service to Northampton 
Arrive Tring: 10-58 hrs

Return: Tring to Euston: 15-56, 16-18, 16-27 and 16-57 hrs

Berkhamsted to Euston:  17-02, 17-23, 17-32, 17-48, 18-05, 18-25 and 18-30 hrs

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Tring

 Covid-19 Compliance: please note the current guidance on this website and observe social distancing. You should all come prepared to exchange contact details for track and trace purpose. You can either pre-register for this walk (not essential ) by e-mailing me at  or, if you prefer, please write your name, e-mail address and contact 'phone number on a small piece of paper for handing to me on the train or when we assemble at walk start. Thank you.  

This walk is arguably the best bluebell walk in the SWC repertoire, so why post it on a Friday and not Saturday, you may well ask ? Answer:  1. it's not my turn to post this Saturday. 2. North-East London Ramblers will be on an Ivinghoe Beacon walk on the Saturday, probably following our Book 2 directions, and 3. this Saturday, Dockey Wood will be chocker with visitors - so it should be more relaxing to admire this bluebell wood the day before. 

Leaving Tring railway station the walk goes through woodland before following grassy meadows uphill to Ivinghoe Beacon. Climbing up to the Beacon's trig station is optional ! On then to Ward's Hurst  Farm, but just before we reach it, as we climb a steep bank towards the farm, we should find lots of wild garlic lining the bank at this time of year.  We walk through the farm and bear right across fields to Dockey Wood  one of the best bluebell woods in Southern England.  After spending some time wandering through this wood, admiring the bluebell displays, which hopefully will be nearing their best, even if in need of some rain, we leave it and walk beside the road into the hamlet of Ringshall, before following a pleasant route through light woodland to the village of Little Gaddesden where we stop for a  lunchtime picnic. Alas, the village pub, the Bridgewater Arms, is not planning to reopen until mid-May.

After our picnic lunch we re-enter the Aldbury Estate to soon walk through Flat Isley, a large expanse of bluebells. Onwards then to the Bridgewater Memorial and the visitor centre (an early tea option) to start the walk extension to Berkhamsted. The initial part of the extension takes us through more bluebell woods, to satiate our bluebell fix for the day. For those finishing their walk in Tring, there are two good pubs in Aldbury for post walk refreshments. Those carrying on the walk into Berkhamsted, the recommendation is we walk past the railway station to walk along the canal tow path to one of two excellent canal-side pubs for our post walk refreshments.

Walk Directions are here: L=2.5 


Anonymous said...

I did a variation of this walk on Sunday, bluebells in Dockey Wood were about 60% out but only 30% in Flat Isley. Hopefully by Friday, it will be in full bloom.

Anonymous said...

Anyone planning to do the shorter walk versions?

Mike P said...

I'm planning to do the 5a short cut (without bluebells), continuing to Berkhamsted, about 10.6 miles I think.

tartanrug said...

I’m doing the short version. 7 miles.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marcus was in Tring yesterday and bluebells not fully out between 50 to 70 % in some places while others still in buds. Dockey Wood was impressive while Flat Isley about 40% out. Rail Copse, Old Copse and Swallow Copse barely in blue colour. Still its dazzling in Dockey Wood and Flat Isley. Place was very quiet. Should be better by Friday and some rain will definitely helps. Enjoy your walk on Friday. By the was at Isabella Plantattion in Richmond today and the azleas are late by about 2 weeks. Only 20% are in flower. Thought some of the SWC might be interested. Monica.

Anonymous said...

Posting walk on Friday is a good idea as there are no direct train to Tring this weekend and BH due to engineering works. Also its free to go into Dockey Wood on weekday where as weekend you have to pay from this weekend unless you have NT card I think. Monica.

Marcus said...

Thank you for the update on the bluebells, Monica. A number of us are looking forward to seeing them on Friday.
Will we have the pleasure of your company next Wednesday, 05 May on the Holmwood Walk ? I recall you like Leigh Hill Rhododendron Wood - the azaleas and rhodos should be in full flower by then.

Anonymous said...

Yes I will be attending next Wednesday walk and hope the weather holds as I may extend my walk around Gomshall. Old Sims Copse also has very good bluebells wood and maybe we might be lucky. Was in Wendover woods mostly Hale Wood and Barn wood the bluebells about 50 % out but a good show of 3 corner leek. Makes very nice soups or stir fry. Would like to join you all tomorrow but have been exploring bluebells woods in the Chiltern for the past 4 days so quite tired. Enjoy the walk tomorrow and see you all on Wednesday. Monica

Mr M Tiger said...

N=20 at the station. 17 set off at a brisk pace. 2 lagged and 1 opted for short walk c.
One lagger was persuaded by the other one to take an even shorter short cut in the direction of Dockey Wood. This resulted in an intersection with some of the others doing the official shortcut. A diversion off this route led to Dockey Wood. Later, the same two laggers decided to forgo the alpine meadow for a gentler route through the common. Then a circuit of the castle moat. Didn’t see many of the others during the day so don’t know what they did.
There are definitely bluebells about and plenty of purple patches but they’re not really at their best yet. Dockey Wood was perhaps the most impressive. If you can call it impressive. Quite a tough walk post-lockdown .
The day was w=sunny-and-cloudy-chilly-at-times

Marcus said...

An addendum to Ian's report, from one of those who did most of the main walk. As Ian said, the group soon split up after the start, with further separations taking place at the foot of Ivinghoe Beacon. As I opted not to ascend the Beacon today, I surprisingly found myself at the front, alone, heading towards Wards Hurst Farm, then Dockey Wood, now in glorious sunshine, and pleasantly warm. Alas, although the bluebells were colourful in the Wood, we were about a week too early for their best carpet display. Having said hello to Mr M Tiger and his sister in the Wood, I continued on to the hamlet of Ringshall, where two other walkers joined me - for the rest of the walk to Berko. We stopped for our picnic lunches in Little Gaddesden in the (closed) pub's beer garden - as I've spent "loads of money" in this pub over the years, I didn't feel too guilty for our technical trespass. Onwards then to Flat Isley, where the bluebells were close to "full on". We spotted at least one other walker sunbathing by the Bridgewater Visitor Centre, before carrying on, passing some very good bluebell displays on the descent to the main road. The sunshine stayed with us for our walk through the Common to Berko, where one went in search of tea, leaving two of us to head for the railway station - and the 16-46 hrs fast train back to London. A lovely day out - and the forecasted rain showers never materialised.