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If you fancy a day out somewhere completely different to Heartwood Forest, why not visit Tring Park for the Family Festival? Tring Park is just behind the Natural History Museum in Tring, and shares a car park with the museum. It’s a stunning site, managed by the Woodland Trust, with open, rolling grassland (with grazing cows) and beautiful woodland walks too.

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The Heartwood Summer Festival is on Saturday 8th July at Heartwood Forest, between 11am and 4pm.

2017 festival poster

Why not come along and bring the family – there are activities for all ages, including minibeast hunts, a yoga session, guided walks, woodland crafts, face painting and axe throwing!

Entry costs £1 on the day.

2017 festival flyer

 

There are various events planned at Heartwood Forest this year. If you would like to stay up to date regarding future events, keep an eye on the website page at  heartwood.woodlandtrust.org.uk/things-to-see-and-do/events/

The next event is a Natural History of the Landscape Walk – 17 May 10am.

Take a closer look at your surroundings with this extraordinary step back in time, examining how historical events have shaped the landscape. Join our walk leaders in an incredible snapshot of some of the stories behind the geology of Heartwood.
Booking is essential – places are available at the moment.

2017 Heartwood UH ad

Further to the previous blog post regarding the bluebells at Heartwood Forest, our monitoring of the woodland shows how well the woodland is recovering. Bluebells are coming back to the cordoned off damaged areas at an incredible rate, thanks to all those people who are helping the Woodland Trust to protect the bluebells by staying on the paths and encouraging others to do so. These are photographs taken at the same spot, within a protected area, two years apart with the second one being taken a week ago.

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New areas have been cordoned off this year, in the hope that they also can regenerate and recover, as, just a few years ago, they too were covered in bluebells.

bluebells (1 of 1)

It is wonderful to see the ability that nature has to recover from the damage done to it, with the help and respect of the visitors to the woods, meaning that the spectacular sight of a mass of blue within our woods will be there for many years to come.

bluebells (1 of 1)-2

The Woodland Trust has become aware of several companies offering photoshoots at Heartwood Forest in/amongst/with a backdrop of bluebells in the ancient woodland. While all visitors are welcome to come and enjoy the bluebell displays at this time of year, any professional photography is not permitted without written consent – this includes commissioned shoots of people or animals. Please be aware that Heartwood Forest is private land and that no professional photography is authorised without permission from the landowner. Individuals taking photographs for private use are of course permitted to do so – all visitors are asked to stick to designated paths to protect the bluebells and all dogs must be kept on a lead in these areas.

 

Heartwood Forest contains four areas of ancient woodland where, each spring, a stunning display of bluebells can be seen. These flowers are particularly special here as around one fifth of the world’s bluebells are found in the UK. The species is currently protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, with trade and sale of the flowers banned.

Sadly, over time there have been cases of trampling within Heartwood, consequently damaging the bluebells and causing disruption to the woodland habitat. Where humans and dogs have strayed from the designated footpaths, there has been a significant decrease in the abundance of these beautiful wildflowers. The dramatic effects of trampling can be seen in the images below – one was taken before the bluebells were damaged, the other after significant trampling.

According to research carried out by Moulton College in the Midlands, once damaged, bluebells need approximately five years, without any additional disturbance, to recover fully. Not only does trampling cause a loss of up to 96% of the bluebells’ flowers, but the species also cannot produce seeds as efficiently, consequently affecting many generations to come.

The “Save Our Bluebells” (SOB) campaign is our way of alerting visitors to the importance of walking responsibly through Heartwood and ensuring the bluebells’ success in years to come. In Langley Wood, there is a marked trail for visitors to follow, as well as signs asking that people stay on this route to ensure no more trampling occurs. There is a designated play area in the southern corner of Langley, so children can play in the wood while letting the bluebells recover safely. There are leaflets situated in various locations around Heartwood including the car park, on the scout hut notice board, in Langley Wood itself and on the Magical Wood board. These leaflets contain more information about how visitors can reduce their impact on Heartwood’s bluebells, so please feel free to take one.

Meanwhile, throughout the campaign, volunteers will be situated in the car park to welcome visitors to the site, hand out leaflets and answer any questions you may have about the bluebells. Please feel free to talk to the volunteers, who are more than willing to have a chat about the SOB campaign and the work that’s being carried out.

When the bluebells are in full bloom in Langley Wood, it is understandable that many visitors will want to photograph them. Please remember to stay on the way marked trail when taking photos; I can tell you first hand that you can get beautiful photos without straying from the path!

If we do not act now, the bluebells in Heartwood will continue to deteriorate and will eventually be lost all together. Seeing such an iconic British species disappear due to trampling by humans would be catastrophic, so the SOB campaign is essential in raising awareness about these delicate British wildflowers. Please come to Heartwood and see this stunning natural spectacle, but remember just how fragile and special these flowers are.

Heartwood bluebell before trampling - Copy

Before trampling

Heartwood bluebell after trampling - Copy

After trampling