A forest transformed into a blue idyll. That is the joy of bluebell season- a short but strikingly beautiful time of year. One of my personal joys each year is to walk in a bluebell wood. Traditional ancient woodlands in the UK are carpeted with bluebells each spring and are a truly spectacular sight.
Duncliffe Woods near Shaftesbury in Dorset is one of many ancient woodlands in England. It is recorded in the Domesday Book as being regularly coppiced and was once part of a royal hunting ground. Today it is peaceful and full of wildlife from elusive deer to butterflies and rabbits. From the top of the hill there are views across the surrounding countryside but I was here to see the bluebells and I was not disappointed. The woodland floor was a mass of tiny blue delicate flowers, waving in the slight breeze, filling their air with their sweet perfume. I walked in silence, just captivated by this feat of nature.
English bluebells are smaller than their Spanish counterparts. They droop like a shepherd’s crook and are scented. The English bluebell has a creamy colour pollen and the flowers are narrow with a rolled back tip. This species is in danger of being wiped out by the more common Spanish hybrid which is upright and has no scent. It is illegal to pick the native bluebell in the UK.
Bluebell season starts in mid April in the UK and finishes around mid May. There are many beautiful woodlands to enjoy at this time of year. It is a joy for walkers and photographers alike. Some of the best include:
Tehidy Woods near Camborne, Cornwall
Duncliffe Woods, Dorset
Sheffield Park, East Sussex
Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey
And there are many more in the UK. if you are visiting the UK in April or May- do consider visiting a bluebell wood for a joyful experience.