There are many signals that winter is coming to an end – longer days, warmer weather and more wildlife. However, when bluebells begin to crop up on forest floors; it’s clear that spring has sprung. If you’d like to know more about this beautiful flower, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on bluebells, the best time to see them and the best places to see them in the UK.
Officially protected under British law, the bluebell is a native wildflower taking its name from its deep violet-blue hue and bell-shaped petals. Typically, these flowers are associated with the start of spring, and many people travel to forests around the country to witness this stunning spectacle. In 2015, bluebells were voted the nation’s favourite wildflower in a poll conducted by botanical charity Plantlife.
The flowering of bluebells typically marks the start of spring. Therefore, the best time to see these flowers is usually between mid-March and May but can depend on your location. Bluebells are perennial plants – meaning they flower every year.
Almost half of the world’s bluebells are found in this country, making the UK the best place to see this relatively rare flower. They will often first appear in the South West, as this region is a little warmer than the rest of the country. Traditionally, bluebells tend to grow on woodland floors, but you might spot them in fields or along hedgerows.
With this beautiful flower blooming all over the country, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite places to see bluebells in the UK.
Situated close to the historic Sherwood Forest, and our flagship Sherwood Pines campsite, Clumber Park covers over 3,800 acres of parkland, heath and woods. Once the country estate of the Duke of Newcastle, a fire demolished the house in 1938, but the surrounding ducal park is now open to the public. Clumber Park’s appropriately named Bluebell Wood transforms in springtime into a carpet of deep violet blue.
Located in the charming village of Soudley, close to the Anglo-Welsh border, the Dean Heritage Centre exhibits the social and industrial history of the Forest of Dean. Set across five acres of stunning scenery, the centre hosts an interactive experience showing the heritage of the local area. Wander through the woodland of Soudley and up to Bradley Hill, taking time to admire the sea of blue beneath the coppice of trees. The Dean Heritage Centre is a short drive from our spacious Bracelands campsite.
Winding through the Trossachs in the Scottish Highlands, Duke’s Pass is a public road widely regarded as one of the most scenic drives in Britain. Climbing to a height of 800 feet above sea level, the Duke’s Pass is a 5-minute drive from our picturesque Cobleland campsite. Pay a visit to the Lodge Visitor Centre in Aberfoyle to see vibrant blankets of bluebells.
Nestled in the heart of the New Forest National Park, Furzey Gardens is an enchanting woodland garden. Located just a 10-minute drive from our characterful Ocknell campsite, the woodland covers over 10 acres. It is home to dozens of fairy doors, a play area, lake, 16th century thatched cottage, tea rooms and a recreated gold medal winning RHS Chelsea show garden. In spring, the garden displays thousands of crocuses, daffodils and most importantly – bluebells.
Part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve, Inchcailloch is an island rich with natural and cultural heritage. Just a 5-minute drive from our idyllic Cashel campsite, the island is accessible via ferry and is regarded as one of the most places in Scotland. In spring, Inchcailloch is carpeted with bluebells, creating a magical backdrop for the wildlife that live here.
Maintained by the award-winning Pondhead Conservation Trust, the Pondhead Inclosure is a unique woodland in the New Forest. This area has not been grazed by ponies and cattle for several centuries, resulting in rich biodiversity and a diverse array of flora, butterflies and birds. Located on the outskirts of Lyndhurst, the Pondhead Inclosure is one of the best places to see bluebells in the country. Our tranquil Matley Wood campsite is located less than a mile down the road from the woodland and is accessible by foot.
Located a 5-minute drive from our peaceful Hollands Wood campsite, Roydon Woods Nature Reserve comprises grassy meadows and ancient copses. The nature reserve is home to a varied list of wildlife such as spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches, skylarks, badgers, voles and stoats. During springtime, the green beech trees contrast the bright blue carpet of bluebells.
Set in the Savernake Forest, in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, West Woods is an extensive expanse of beech woodland. West Woods is a former ancient woodland and just a 10-minute drive from our blissful Postern Hill campsite. Tourists flock to the area in April and May to see the spectacular display of bluebells on the forest floor.
Are you still looking for more things to do on your next camping trip? Take a look at some of our favourite things to do near our campsites. If you’re not sure where to take your next camping trip, take a look at the best national park camping spots.
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