A walk among bluebells

A walk among bluebells


Posted 16th Feb 2017


Bluebells provide some of the most beautiful backdrops for a walk, and a chance to take in some fantastic views - we've rounded up some of our favourites

South West

Lanhydrock, North Cornwall

Lanhydrock is the perfect country house and estate, with the feel of a family home. The estate is well worth exploring, with tranquil riverside paths and ancient woodlands blooming with waves of daffodils and bluebells.

Godolphin, Cornwall

Travel back in time as you wander around Godolphin’s 16th-century garden, one of the most important historic gardens in Europe. Get lost in the tranquil and mysterious woodland, where the years of mining have left an unnatural, undulating landscape carpeted in bluebells throughout April and May. Go for a stroll along the river and don’t forget to stop for a refreshing cup of tea and slice of home-made cake in the tea-room.


Image courtesy of Andrew Butler

 

Buckland Abbey, Devon

When you visit Buckland, you follow over 700 years of footsteps; from the Cistercians who built the Abbey and farmed the estate, to seafarers Grenville and Drake who changed the shape of the house and the fate of the country. Visit this spring to discover the sea of bluebells that bloom in the Great North Wood.


Image courtesy of National Trust

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

From Iron Age forts and colourful heathland to water meadows and even a Roman road, there’s plenty to see on the 8,500 acres of estate at Kingston Lacy. In spring, the woodland walk which follows the edge of the formal garden is a great place to see the annual display of bluebells.


Image courtesy of Richard Pink

 

London and South East

Emmetts Garden, Kent

During the spring months, the slopes and hillocks of Emmet’s Garden are a beauty to behold. May is the best time to see this Edwardian hillside garden carpeted with bluebells, creating a sea of hazy blue beneath the trees. You can also enjoy views over the Bough Beech Reservoir and the Weald of Kent.

Mottisfont

Mottisfont’s magnificent ancient woodlands provide the perfect habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna. Take a walk around the estate to Great Copse, where you can see plants such as Solomon's seal, wood surge, herb Paris and sweeping drifts of bluebells.

Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex

Formed through centuries of landscape design, Sheffield Park and Garden is a horticultural work of art with influences of ‘Capability’ Brown throughout. During the spring months the woodlands, glades and flood meadows of Sheffield Park will be awash with a sea of bluebells and buzzing with butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies. Take a stroll in Walk Wood, open to the public for the first time this year, to experience this glorious spring spectacular.

(N.B. Walk Wood will be open from late April)

Hughenden, Buckinghamshire

Benjamin Disraeli, Victorian Prime Minister and former owner of Hughenden, loved spring flowers. He turned his gardens into havens for seasonal blooms, from wooded slopes covered in daffodils to flower-lined paths. Follow the Woodcock Walk trail as it meanders its way through a typical Chiltern beech woodland, which is covered in swathes of bluebells during the spring months.

East

Blickling Estate, Norfolk

Visit Blickling in spring and discover one of the best places to see bluebells in the country. Follow the winding paths through the Great Wood and pass through swathes of the dainty blue flowers. Late April to early May is usually the best time to see the bluebells as they carpet the woodland floor.

Festival of the Blues | 1-31 May

To celebrate beautiful bluebell season, the house will be up-lit in blue for the whole month and the colour scheme will run through the house, gardens and park.  Enjoy a guided bluebell walk through the estate, and treat yourself to your own bluebells from the plant centre to enjoy in your own garden. The festivities will culminate in an afternoon of blues music for the final weekend (Saturday 27 May).


Image courtesy of Matthew Antrobus 

Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Even on a dreary day the sight of delicate bluebells in bloom will surely bring a smile to your face. They carpet the woodland floor at Sutton Hoo, so keep an eye out for bright flashes of blue as you explore this hauntingly beautiful estate with its ancient burial mounds and far-reaching views over the River Deben.

Midlands

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

During the spring months, carpets of bluebells can be found along the path through Serpentine Wood at Calke. Take a wander through the trees, and rest on a fallen trunk to enjoy the aroma of the flowers.  It’s thought that it can take up to 200 years for a continuous carpet of bluebells to develop on undisturbed ground, and this slow spread means bluebells are often an indicator of ancient woodland sites.

Coughton Court, Warwickshire

Coughton Court’s bluebells can be found in Timm's Grove, named after a highwayman who reputedly used to hide out in the woods after an ambush. These days it’s much more tranquil, so why not take a stroll to admire the hazy blue carpet that fills the woods in spring?

Longshaw, Derbyshire

You'll need to explore a bit further afield to find bluebells at Longshaw. Hay Wood is the best place to spot them, so why not take a walk along the ‘Bluebells and Flycatchers’ trail to seek them out and make the most of the season.

Hardwick Hall, Chesterfield

Take a stroll around the Oak Walk at Hardwick Hall to see the beautiful carpets of bluebells and daffodils. From spring to early summer the ground is covered with haze of blue and the white flowers of wild garlic, which attract many butterflies and bees. 

North

Hardcastle Crags, Yorkshire

Bluebells are the undisputed spring highlight at Hardcastle Crags, filling the air with their sweet perfume.  At their peak they carpet the ground, forming an almost unearthly blue haze through the wooded valley.


Image courtesy of Simon Fraser

Wallington, Northumberland

Follow the River Walk through the wooded valley cut by the River Wansbeck and take in the colours of spring.  Admire the carpets of crocus, wood anemones and daffodils in the Walled Garden as you head down to the river and look out for the swathes of bluebells along the riverbank.

Speke Hall, Merseyside

Spring is an ideal time to take in the delightful gardens surrounding this Tudor timber-framed manor house on the banks of the River Mersey. Wander through the estate to Clough Woods where you can follow the fantastic display of bluebells on the Bluebell Trail or take a tour to discover how the team at Speke protect the endangered spring flower. With its sea of blue, this oasis of woodland makes the perfect spot for an idyllic stroll.

Rannerdale, Buttermere Valley, Cumbria

Sometimes known as the Secret Valley, Rannerdale offers a popular bluebell walk in spring, when the woodland floor becomes an indigo carpet. This area is said to be the site of a battle at which native Cumbrians and Norsemen ambushed and defeated Norman armies in the century after they came to Britain in 1066. Local folklore suggests that the bluebells have sprung up from the blood of slain Norman warriors.

Wales

Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Complete with a 700 year old castle, far-reaching views across the Cheshire and Shropshire plains and an award-winning garden, Chirk Castle’s 480 acre estate is a great place to find some signs of spring. One of its highlights is the enchanting carpet of bluebells spread throughout the woodland in May.

Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire

Come and see how nature has spectacularly transformed this old industrial area into a tranquil valley garden. In late spring, the woodland offers lovely walks through bluebells and other wildflowers.

Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd

Late spring brings a splash of vivid blue to Penrhyn Castle. Bluebells can be seen all around the gardens and woodland in May, a beautiful contrast of colour against the castle’s grey exterior. Follow the new visitor route through a sea of blue, below the hanging boughs of mature and semi-mature oak trees with spectacular views of Snowdonia and the North Wales coast. Penrhyn is also working hard to encourage local wildlife, so follow the nature trails to find out more and explore the lesser-known parts of the castle grounds.

Northern Ireland

Crom, County Fermanagh

This ancient woodland sits in a tranquil landscape on the peaceful shores of Upper Lough Erne. One of Ireland’s most important conservation areas, it has many rare species of flowers and fauna. Come spring, the woodland floor is simply covered with bluebells it’s quite a sight to behold.

Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry

Visit this stunning landscape demesne, where you’ll find magnificent clifftop walks with rugged headland views across the North Coast. Discover Mussenden Temple and the striking 18th-century ruins of Downhill mansion. Bishop’s Gate garden and glen is a great place for the whole family to relax and enjoy the delights of nature waking up – especially during bluebell season.

Minnowburn, County Down

Set on the southern edge of Belfast, Minnowburn is a tranquil refuge with meadows and woodlands stretching down to the Lagan river. There’s also plenty of wildlife to look out for, from the blue flash of a Kingfisher to an Otter poking its head above the water. Wander through the woods in spring to see a haze of bluebells.





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