Bring out the bluebells! Top bluebell walks in the UK
Bring out the bluebells! This is not, as it may sound, a carefree celebratory whoop to flowers in the springtime, but an actual plea to whoever is in charge of the weather at the moment. Seriously. It’s like, April. Much as our favourite springtime celebratory thing is seeing that first daffodil struggling out of the snow, a close second is when it’s springtime proper and the woods are carpeted with teeny blue flowers in late April and May. Which leaves plenty of time for the sun to come out and the bluebells to flower as usual...
Half the bluebell woods in the world are found in the UK – with over 1300 woods here in total – so we think this is a Very British Thing to do on your next camping trip as well as one of the best woodland pics you’ll ever take. Here are our top bluebell woods to track down:
Micheldever Wood, Hampshire: South-west of the village of Micheldever and five miles from Winchester lies Micheldever Wood, popular with bluebell fans; there are also waymarked trails leading to the wood’s archaeologically interesting spots. Stay nearby at a camping pod at the adults-only Two Hoots Campsite from £60 a night (be quick for April availability), or combine the bluebell walk with a seaside break by booking a caravan at Milford-on-Sea’s award-winning Shorefield Country Park from £165 for four nights.
Becky Falls, Devon: An ancient woodland estate said to be one of the most untouched corners of Dartmoor, and a haunt of writers such as Virginia Woolf and Rupert Brooke. The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has many rare flowers and fauna. Stay in a traditional shepherd’s hut or roomy bell tent at Dartmoor Shepherd’s Huts less than eight miles away from £45 a night, or bring your tent, tourer or motorhome to Haldon Forest Holiday Park from £15 a night. Both parks are dog-friendly.
Foxley Wood, Norfolk: Mentioned in the Domesday Book, this is the oldest woodland in Norfolk, with bluebells covering large parts of it since the Norfolk Wildlife Trust started planting native trees which let in more light. Stay a few miles away at Magical Camping, which has fully furnished luxury bell tents and tipis from £85 a night, or book a non-electric grass pitch at the Norfolk Broads pub campsite from £13 a night at Reedham Ferry Touring and Camping Park.
Glen Finglas, Stirlingshire: For serious bluebellers. On the biggest property of the Woodland Trust Scotland, this has a 15-mile walk with views from Ben Ledi to Loch Venachar: do remember to look down occasionally to see the bluebells. To put your weary feet up back at base, book into Balgair Castle Holiday Park with outdoor pool and pitches from £18 a night, or stay a short distance away at Dunbartonshire’s Lomond Woods Holiday Park which has electric pitches for tourers and motorhomes from £20.
Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire: This National Trust-managed site has miles of woodland walks and a three mile circular trail to show off the best of the bluebells; the old cotton mill Gibson Mill is also on site for those who must dress up in traditional garb. For countryside views of Brontë Country, Upwood Holiday Park at nearby Haworth has electric pitches from £12.50 and a heated family camping pod from £34.50 a night; dogs are welcome too.
Coed Cefn, Powys: Overlooking the village of Crickhollow, Coed Cefn is an ancient woodland with an Iron Age fort on top. And bluebells, which cover the wood floor in the spring months among the oak and beech trees. The eco-friendly Sychpwll Centre within ten miles of Coed Cefn has both camping and glamping with several options including basic pitches, bell tents, a straw bale barn for up to ten people and a self-contained flat for two; there’s also the camping cabin with double bed, new shower room and veranda – and with 20 per cent off until 20 April.
Can I pick wild bluebells?
In a (firm) word, no. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, no wild flowers or plants can be taken from their habitat without the permission of the landowner or the conservation agency they’re growing on – and since 1998, it’s been illegal to pick bluebells or their bulbs for commercial use on either public or private land.
More ways to look for wild flowers, forest walks and nature spots: