The National Trust are introducing visitor charges at their Dockey Wood location in Ashridge, Hertfordshire in a bid to control the crowds which flock to the see the beautiful carpets of bluebells covering the ground in May.
Thousands of people visit the woods every spring to walk through the carpets of blue flowers but this leads to large areas being trampled underfoot, or “chaotic parking” on verges in the local area, damaging other plants.
The National Trust is introducing a fee of £3 for an adult to visit the woods, and £1 for a child. This is the first year charges have been in place, and it is said they will help to pay for rangers and the annual £500,000 costs of upkeep.
A spokesperson from the National Trust commented: “At weekends during bluebell season traffic queues build up and people park chaotically, causing real damage to verges and wayside plants.
“Last year lots of people told us that they thought we should have a much greater staff presence at the wood during the busiest weekends, and make a small charge to help meet some of our costs.”
The fees will apply only for the first two weekends of May, when the majority of visitors come to see the bluebells at their peak.
A new route has been laid out to help avoid the trampling of the flowers, and rangers will be on hand to help direct visitors.
Image: Dr Joseph Valks / freedigitalphotos.net