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Sarratt WI - Walk Number Eleven (for bluebells in May)

Two and a half miles - Rousebarn Lane – Merlin’s Wood – Harrocks Wood 
 
I have added this extra walk out of order because it is the best walk for looking at bluebells at this glorious time of year.
 

 
Park in the Whippendell Woods car park in Rousebarn Lane, about half a mile from the Clarendon Arms.    The entrance to Merlin’s Wood is just opposite.
 
These ancient woods are now managed by the Woodland Trust, who have created new paths and made many improvements.
 
Veer left for about 500 yards until you meet a path coming from the other car park, where you turn right. At the stile go right and then over another stile and along a narrow path to a kissing gate. Turn right here. The imposing Queen Anne house on your left, with its fine cupola and clock tower, is now York House school. 
 
Walk past Oak Farm, a building with fascinatng brick patterns, and the narrow path ahead brings you to Harrocks Wood. 
 
This is a very old wood with many rare species of moths, butterflies, beetles, and a profusion of wild flowers. 

Raymond Penrose (Note 1), a local naturalist, has compiled a study of some of the rarities to be found here.
 
 
Each Spring this wood is a sea of bluebells.
 
Twelve yards after crossing the stile take the path on your right through the wood.

Just before the lane, go left, along a path that curves back into the wood and eventually joins the main path.
 
Turn right, soon leaving the wood, and walk along a narrow path to Chandlers Cross and the Clarendon Arms, in case you are thirsty.
 
Go right along the road for 30 yards, then turn right down Rousebarn Lane, which is a “no through road” with very little traffic apart from horses. 
 
 
 
The “Heritage Verge” has a wealth of wildlife. Look out for the pretty pink Coralroot Bittercress (right photo)which is only found in a few locations in this area and the Weald of Kent and flowers at the same time as the bluebells.

About 500 yards along, opposite the drive to Blacketts, go right into the wood and 25 yards along, at the unruly sycamore, take the path on your left parallel with the road. It emerges quite soon and there is a short section (70yds) on the road before the next entrance to Merlin’s Wood.
 
 
 
This path goes uphill and affords a wonderful view of the stately beech trees on the opposite side of the lane and the bluebells in Spring.

 
 
It soon comes out opposite the car park where you started.
 
 
 

Note 1. See "A Hertfordshire Valley" - Wildlife of the Lower Gade Valley: a naturalist's view
 
Compiled by Raymond J Penrose 1993
 
ISBN 0 952257904