Meandering through a magical carpet of blooming bluebells, as sunlight slips through the branches of ancient trees, is a sure sign that spring has arrived. Running from mid April to May, bluebell season is an utterly enchanting time of year. Head out on a woodland walk as bluebells emerge and be captivated by the violet glow of these incredible wildflowers. With spring on the horizon, we wanted to share with you our favourite woodlands that offer a flourishing display of bluebells.
Where to find bluebells
These sweet smelling violet-blue flowers are hard to miss, creating a wave of colour in many woodlands across the UK. Thousands of bulbs can exist in one forest and bluebells are often a telling sign that the woodland you’re in is ancient. Emerging from mid April, they can be identified by their six vibrant petals, a drooping head and curled tips. We are lucky enough to have almost half the world’s population of native bluebells here in the UK; the season only lasts for about a month, so capture this moment and venture out to one of these stunning bluebell woodlands…
Loughrigg Fell, Cumbria
Starting off in the much-loved Lake District, Loughrigg Fell is one of the best places to spot bluebells in Cumbria. Just a short distance from Ambleside, this woodland walk is the perfect warm up before climbing the higher peaks. And you don’t have to climb very high at all for the most picturesque views. In season, the slope is covered in a blanket of bluebells with pretty patches of yellow pimpernel. Wade through the bluebell covered fell, admire views over Grasmere then descend to Rydal Cave, using the magical stepping stones to make your way through the old slate quarry. The view from Loughrigg Terrace above Grasmere was a favourite of poet William Wordsworth and we can definitely see why.
Warburton’s Wood, Cheshire
As an ancient clough woodland, Warburton’s Wood is home to a variety of wildlife and blooms of over 50 species including wood anemone, giant bellflower and a sea of bluebells. Rise with the sun, head to Warbuton’s Wood and listen to the orchestra of birds, as pretty bluebells glow in the morning light. We love heading out on the scenic 6 mile walk from Warburton’s Wood down to the River Weaver and seeing which wildflowers we can spot along the way!
Lady’s Wood, Devon
Nestled on the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park, Lady’s Wood acts as a gateway to the rugged landscape of beautiful Dartmoor. It was Devon Wildlife Trust’s first nature reserve and holds a breathtaking display of bluebells each spring. There is a 30-40 minute circular walk through the forest, perfect for a blissful afternoon stroll or to begin your ramble across the moors. Best known for its bluebells that circle the nature reserve, Lady’s Wood is also home to an abundance of sweet little dormice. They are nocturnal animals and hibernate through the winter, but you might just be lucky enough to spot them sleeping in leaves at the base of trees.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
Let your mind run wild and embrace the mystical, magical world of The Lost Gardens of Heligan. The Giant’s Head, Mud Maid and Grey Lady can be discovered in the Lost Valley of the gardens. Walk through the enchanting woodland and discover secret pools and native wildflowers; and in spring, it is covered with dancing bluebells, making it even more enchanting. Cornwall is known for its many folklore traditions and historic tales… Some believe bluebells to be woven with fairy magic, if you pick a bluebell you will be led astray by fairies, wandering lost forever more. And what could be more true in The Lost Gardens of Heligan?
Parrot’s Drumble, Staffordshire
This fascinating ancient forest boasts a flora of bluebells in spring, offering a peaceful escape and an idyllic spot to practise some mindfulness. Trees have covered this area for over 400 years and special plants are well-established here. From dog’s mercury to moschatel, you won’t find many of these flowers in more recently planted forests. Enjoy the woodland flora at its best during spring, walk the pretty bluebell lined path and listen to the chorus of blue tits, wrens and willow warblers… so enchanting!
Duncliffe Wood, Dorset
Duncliffe Wood is utterly idyllic, no matter the time of year. As one of the oldest and largest woods in Dorset, there is an array of walking routes to be discovered. Whether that be the Bluebell Route in spring, the Butterfly Route in summer, the Owl Route where nest boxes can be seen or the Oak Leaf Route, which is the longest trail in the woods. As a Site of Nature Conservation Interest, it is a haven for wildlife. With over 20 species of wonderful butterflies, countless bird varieties and 6 species of bat. Embrace forest bathing whilst bluebells are in full bloom and take a few moments of stillness to breathe in your surroundings. The mosaic of colours and sweet-subtle scent will ignite your senses, and allow you to feel more connected to nature.
Eaglehead and Bloodstone Copse Nature Reserve, Isle of Wight
There is so much to explore on the beautiful Isle of Wight, from coastal adventures to woodland walks. Eaglehead and Bloodstone are two connected nature reserves on the island, a flower-rich grassland can be found where the reserves meet. The forest comes to life in spring, where you will be greeted by a breathtaking display of bluebells. Return in autumn and watch red squirrels forage for goods. If you are taking a trip to the sun soaked Isle of Wight, be sure to add this magical woodland to your itinerary.
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Cheddar Gorge is such a unique place, it is the deepest gorge in England. Visit in spring to see the wooded sides of the gorge carpeted in pretty bluebells. For the best display, explore the beauty of the Mendip Hills, admiring breathtaking panoramic views across the levels and moors. Embrace your wild and discover the unspoilt landscape of Black Rock, Longwood and Velvet Bottom. These small nature reserves roll into one another, creating a complex of scenic walks. Start at the limestone quarry of Black Rock, through Velvet Bottom to Longwood, where you will find the woodland floor coated in bluebells and wild garlic. The intertwined contrast of vibrant violet and pure white flowers is quite spectacular and not to be missed!
The Abermawr woods and beach walk is a wonderful circular trail in Pembrokeshire, with a variety of gorgeous landscapes along the way. Stroll through the bluebell woods, lush green meadows and marshland before reaching the shingle beach with stunning coastal views towards the rocky headland of Penbwchdy. This moderate walk takes you through gentle rolling meadows and rugged sections of the Pembrokeshire coastline, be sure to back your wellies as this trail can get muddy!
What could be more idyllic than an afternoon wander through a bluebell woodland, as the spring sunshine dances across these violet bulbs, then returning to a Unique hideaway for a late lunch in the dappled shade beneath the trees.