Top 10 bluebell walks
Step into the countryside with Kimberley de Selincourt to discover Britain's most spectacular bluebell walks
Wednesday 13th April 2011
These eight east Sussex trails are all around a mile long and link together across three farms. The Beatons Wood trail is suitable for wheelchair users, and all the paths are signposted so you know what springtime delights you are looking at. From here you can hop next door to Parkwood Farm where you can see pigs, sheep and goats and even watch the dairy herd being milked.
Could there be anything better than a scenic bluebell flooded walk? Improve perfection on a guided 4mile walk through Sissinghurst Castle followed by cream teas. All you have to do is decide which to put on first, cream or jam?
Dubbed by Ruskin as 'The gateway to paradise', the woodland above the castle is washed in sunlight dappled blue beauties. With views over to the only coastal village in the Lake District, Muncaster's 18th century gardens also boast an impressively large Rhododendron and exotic tree collection.
As the setting of the BBCs Sense and Sensibility in 2007, walking in the grounds it is easy to be transported to a lost era. The gardens themselves were almost forgotten over the First World War, and the Summerhouse pathway, which reopened in 2010, had been lying hidden since 1945.
If you find yourself near Kent, look no further for a bluebells and butterflies walk than Cobtree Manor. You can discover the highlights of spring on a guided tour of Cobtree, whilst having a picnic, or, if the inclination takes you, while perfecting your swing on Bluebell Hill golf course.
Give in to your inner child, or perhaps your children, and take a visit to Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. While a little self indulgent nostalgia is reason enough for the trip, there is plenty more besides. As well as bluebells, wood anemone and wood sorrel, there are Roe and Fallow in their hundreds. Thanks to avoiding the plough, the forest is a unique habitat for many rare species of flora and fauna, with the butterflies and dragonflies being particularly beautiful.
Covering almost 16 hectares, Nottinghamshire's Bunny Old Wood hosts a plethora of springs finest flora: from wood anemone and stitchwort to dog’s mercury and bluebells, as well as 50 species of birds and 20 species of butterflies. The Wildlife Trust is working to conserve all these, and restore the traditional coppice.
There is a distinctly native theme in this Scottish woodland. As well as being packed with native bluebells, Dumfries and Galloway is also a haven for our red squirrels. Other fauna drawn to the woods by the siren-like bluebell pollen include butterflies, endangered birds, and rare insects.
A dense carpet of bluebells is a sign that you are in ancient deciduous woodland, and Coed Cefn in Powys, packed with archeological treats, is no exception. Free to access, in the centre of this wood is an Iron Age hill fort and there are also historic drystone walls and hedge boundaries.
Originally the industrial centre of Portishead, the quarry is now home to the joys of spring. Enjoy a 1½ hour walk through wild daffodils, bluebells and wild garlic, alongside woodland rides. There are also brass way-markers dotted along the route which are ideal for taking rubbings.
For more walks, have a look at the National Trust’s bluebell watch. Through your contributions on Twitter, they have put together a map of where you have seen bluebells.
Bluebell walks you love…
Hannah Hyland - Eartham Woods, Sussex
Sarah Cooke – The Buzzard walk, Devon
Jane Ward – Between Grasmere and Rydal
Sue Pritchard – Clytha Hill, Monmouthshire
Alan Hooper – Soudley, Forest of Dean
Lewis W – Alvecote Wood, Tamworth
Bill Bartlett – Under the North Sandsend cliffs
Native: Britain's original, beautifully perfumed bluebell has a much stronger scent than the hybrid or Spanish variations, and stands out by being the only variation with creamy white pollen
Spanish: Larger than the native variety and with straighter stems and broader leaves, the Spanish bluebell grows in gardens but is generally not found in the wild in the UK
Hybrid: A mix of the two, this strand of bluebell is dominant, and a threat to the increasingly rare native species. Because of this, native bluebells have received protected status under the Wildlife Act 1981
At this time of year things are only set to get wilder in the countryside. Here are a few more countryside treats to look out for: