Did you know that bluebell sap was used to bind pages to the spines of books, and the Victorians used the starch from crushed bluebells to stiffen the ruffs of their collars and sleeves?
Also, Bees can ‘steal’ nectar from bluebells by biting a hole in the bottom of the bell, reaching the nectar without pollinating the flower (thanks visit woods.org.uk).
In the UK the bluebell is a protected species and it is a criminal offence to remove the plants. These flowers also don’t grow wild anywhere else in Europe. (Loud applause for British nature!).
If you spot them, they can signify that you’re in an area of ancient woodland. Each ancient wood is unique with its own local soil, environment, wildlife and cultural history. For this reason ancient woodland is irreplaceable.
Bluebell season normally lasts from about mid-April until mid-May, There are definitely some to be seen in London’s Woods and Parks and open spaces, like Bluebell Wood near Muswell Hill, Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House, Battersea Park, Kew Gardens, and Sydenham Hill to name but a few.
Out of Town
If you have the time, you should make a day trip of it and find a bluebell event, and even take your own factsheet with you. We had a fun day out hunting down bluebells last year. We left it a bit late in May and couldn’t find any, but did have a very fun day in the country side, complete with rolling down hills, and of course ice cream from the National Trust shop. I’ve sourced a few places that are within easy reach of London. Let me know how you get on, I’d love you to share your photos with me over on my instagram sian_gwilliam. xo
Bluebells are particularly distinctive with their vibrant blue-purple flowers. There are two types of bluebell found in the UK, native and Spanish bluebells. Cross-breeding between the two species means you may spot flowers which combine traits from both.
Charming Emmetts Garden is an Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock, becoming both a plantsman’s passion and a much-loved family home.
The garden was laid out in the late 19th century, and was influenced by William Robinson. It contains many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world.
Standing on one of the highest spots in Kent, Emmetts Garden offers panoramic views over the unspoilt Weald as well as some great walking opportunities.
When you visit, you can explore the rose and rock gardens, take in the views and enjoy shows of spring flowers and shrubs, followed by vibrant autumn colours.
Seen by many as the birthplace of modern democracy, this picturesque open landscape beside the Thames was witness to King John’s historic sealing of the Magna Carta 800 years ago on 15 June 1215.
Across the river from Runnymede you’ll find this timeless, secluded collection of woods and fields. The area is home to varied wildlife, the ruins of a 12th century priory and a the National Trusts oldest tree.
The Ankerwycke yew, is an iconic 2,500 year old yew is steeped in history. According to popular belief, it was beneath this tree that King Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn, and some reports suggest that he even proposed in its shadow
Address : Windsor Road, near Old Windsor, Surrey, SL4 2JL. ( SatNav:
By Train; The entrance is approximately 2 miles (3.2km) from Egham train station, and can be reached using the First 71 bus route. To plan a train journey please use the National Rail journey planner. Traveling from Heathrow: You can take the Underground from Terminal 1-3 to Hatton Cross, connect with the 490 bus to Feltham, then take the National Rail service to Egham.
Eight one-mile trails cut across this lovely bit of East Sussex woodland. Head for the well-marked bluebell wood first, then pop over to neighbouring Parkwood Farm to see the pigs, sheep and goats. You can also book a posh camping holiday at the Loveabell tent site. They have an exclusive use of a field which sits adjacent to the famous bluebell woods in the heart of this beautiful location.
Adults £4, children £1.50, bluebellwalk.co.uk
Address; Bates Green Farm, Tye Hill Road, Arlington, Pollenate, East Sussex, BN26 6SH. Tel 01323 485151
Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
Ashridge Estate is a 2,000 hectare (5,000 acres) area of the Chiltern Hills with beech and oak woodlands, commons and chalk downlands. It’s very popular with dog walkers, joggers and families from near and far. You can park in Tring, grab a pint from the local pub after your walk. The area around the estate supports a rich variety of wildlife, including carpets of bluebells in spring, rare butterflies in summer and the fallow deer that rut in autumn.
Address: Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1LT
Road; The entrance to Monument Drive and the Estate Visitor Centre is off the B4506 between Berkhamsted and DagnallParking: FreeSatNav:
Train; Tring train station 1¾ miles – from the station you can take a taxi or follow our walk at the bottom of this page. Ivinghoe Beacon: Cheddington train station 3½ miles