When the bluebells are at their peak flowering season, the air is heavy with perfume and the sight of massed flowers is heavenly – here are the top 5 places to see Bluebell Woods in England!
A sea of cobalt, violet, blue or purple, often set against the fresh green of new Spring foliage including the lime green beech leaves. However you describe this natural phenomenon, Spring is the time to get out walking through England’s woodlands.
It is a peculiarly English pastime – walking in Bluebell Woods – as England is the only country where the flowers grow wild (stop press, I’ve just found some in Belgium)! They love the damp, shady English woods.
When do bluebells flower? It depends on the English weather of course but they are generally shown off to best effect in the soft, dappled sunlight of late April and early May. Bluebell season lasts about a month.
I can never get enough of photographing Bluebell Woods so I hope you enjoy my pictures of bluebells!
Dockey Wood, Hertfordshire
Dockey Wood is part of the Ashridge Estate, on Beacon Road near the village of Ringshall. The display of bluebells in this small wood is truly breathtaking and it is great for photos because of the gently rising ground. Dockey Wood is a deservedly popular place to see bluebells but don’t worry because the Ashridge Estate has several other beautiful areas of bluebells that are much quieter. The area of forest between the Bridgewater Monument and the Aldbury Road is especially beautiful and a personal favourite. This is one of the easiest-to-reach Bluebell forests near London.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Blickling Estate near Aylsham in Norfolk has over 950 acres of ancient woodland that is famous for its bluebell display in springtime. So it is up to you how far you wander through the winding walking trails. There’s a fascinating historic connection here at Blickling Estate as well. The Boleyn family, once lived here and it is thought that Anne Boleyn was born here. The National Trust puts on a number of special bluebell-themed events in Spring and the formal gardens are also a highlight, especially the secret garden.
The New Forest’s bluebell woods, Hampshire
The New Forest was created a royal park by William the Conqueror in 1079 and used for hunting deer. A national park since 2005 it is a huge area of pasture, heathland and forest in southern England. It has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also has wild ponies!
Walking in the New Forest is a pleasure at any time of the year and well known for its bluebells in spring. The top spots to see bluebells in the New Forest include the Broomy Inclosure (near Linwood) and the Pondhead Inclosure (near Lyndhurst). There is even a ‘Bluebells and Breakfasts’ trail in May, a guided walk which takes you to the best bluebell sites while conveniently also passing a pub or café that serves great breakfasts.
Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire
For a Bluebell walk, there are miles of public footpaths through this area of the South Pennines in West Yorkshire. The English bluebells form a carpet on the forest floor around beautiful streams and waterfalls. Hardcastle Crags is another property cared for by the National Trust and is truly a special place. The nearest town is Hebden Bridge.
Bunny Old Wood, Nottinghamshire
This is a little woodland that is well known for its many spring flowers, as well as birds and butterflies. Bunny Old Wood is only 16 acres and a very peaceful part of the country. This is seriously ancient woodland – the northern slope is thought to have been woodland for over 10,000 years!
Grab your picnic and your camera and get out into England’s Bluebell Woods. But remember, these precious carpets of bluebells are vulnerable to trampling feet. So please, please keep to the marked paths!
By Natasha von Geldern
Where are your favourite places to see Bluebell Woods in England?
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