With lockdown restrictions easing and days getting longer, now is the perfect time to explore the countryside, whether local or a little further from home. Spring brings with it many beautiful arrivals but carpets of bluebells within ancient woodland are arguably among the most stunning. We’ve rounded up some of the best bluebell woods around the country to help you boost your chances of witnessing this natural phenomenon – but be quick, they won’t hang around for long!
Did you know…?
Almost half the world’s bluebells are found in the UK.
It takes several years for a bluebell seed to turn into a bulb and eventually flower.
Bluebell juice is poisonous and can be toxic in large doses.
According to folklore, fairies used bluebells to lure and trap children passing by in the woods.
Bluebells are a protected species in the UK and digging up and selling a wild bluebell can land you a £5,000 fine.
FRESTON WOOD, SUFFOLK
Set within a 142-hectare Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI), Freston Wood is home to one of Suffolk’s most spectacular bluebell woods. A short walk from Freston Church (just off the B1456), it’s easy to access and there’s even a pub that’s perfect for refuelling.
DOCKEY WOOD, HERTFORDSHIRE
One of the best examples of a bluebell wood in the South East, you can find Dockey Wood in the Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. Offering gorgeous rural walks, this is a great choice if you have little ones thanks to abundant parking and nearby visitor centre complete with café and toilets.
ABEREDW, POWYS, WALES
As part of the National Garden Scheme, Pontsioni House is opening its doors to the public, although you do need to book beforehand. This charming house is set in a backdrop of old ruins and rocky woodland full of bluebells, so it’s great for adventurous families.
HAGBOURNE COPSE, WILTSHIRE
You might not associate a retail park off the M4 with beautiful nature, but this little pocket of woodland is ideal if you need a breather during a long car journey and want to let off some steam or stretch your legs. During April and May each year, Hagbourne Copse treats its visitors to a stunning display of bluebells that are well worth the detour.
MELDON WOODS, DEVON
One of Dartmoor’s most impressive stretches of bluebells, Meldon Woods can be found near the beautiful town of Okehampton. The prime location for bluebell-spotting is on the west side of the woods between the car park and the Meldon Viaduct – be prepared for the impressively dense display of bluebells!
GLEN FINGLAS, STIRLING, SCOTLAND
You’ll find the vast Glen Finglas at the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. This Woodland Trust managed estate is home to the most stunning scenery, boasting mountains, woodland, rivers, hills, glens, moorland and – of course – bluebell meadows, plus an impressive array of wildlife. A brilliant day out guaranteed to be full of adventure.
KEIL’S DEN, FIFE, SCOTLAND
Keil’s Den is one of the best places in Fife to spot bluebells, which come out in full force each April and May. Those of you who are culinary-inclined will be pleased to know that wild garlic grows alongside the bluebells, so hop to it before the season ends!
BLUEBELL COTTAGE, WEAVER VALE, CHESHIRE
Owned and managed by former BBC Gardener of the Year, Sue Beesley, Bluebell Cottage – as the name suggests – is home to an impressive display of the gorgeous flower each spring. You’ll find the cottage tucked down a country lane in Dutton, near Warrington, which opens out onto stunning gardens. Aim to enjoy a few hours in this beautiful neck of the woods – but make sure you book before you go.
BECKENHAM PLACE PARK, SOUTH LONDON
Urban dwellers needn’t travel far to get a glimpse of this year’s bluebells. The park is a favourite with local families and is easily accessible from Beckenham town centre. There are footpaths suitable for buggies, a no-frills café, toilets and plenty of amenities on the nearby high street, making it perfect for an afternoon out with little ones.
CLENT HILLS, WORCESTERSHIRE
The National Trust hills are home to lots of areas of bluebells, from easy-to-access spots near the Nimmings Wood car park, as well as more areas off the beaten track if you’re looking for more of an adventure. You’ll also find a visitor centre and café, so it’s ideal for young families.