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 hol 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.
Nearby Petersfield has two available sites for the bluebell season: tourer, campervan and motorhome pitches at Brocklands Farm from £8.83 a night, and tent pitches at Cedar Valley from £10. Or combine the bluebell walk with a seaside break by booking a caravan at Milford-on-Sea’s award-winning Shorefield Country Park from £239 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 to see along with the 'bells.
The traditional shepherd’s huts and roomy bell tents at Dartmoor Shepherd’s Huts less than eight miles away from Becky Falls have 10% off until 31 May 2014 and start from £40.50 for a bell tent and £44.10 for a hut. Or bring your tent or tourer to Haldon Forest Holiday Park from £15 - £20 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 Dereham's Magical Camping , which has fully furnished luxury bell tents from £110 a night, sleeping up to six, or book a berth to suit most tastes at Park Farm Camping , also at Dereham, which has a one-bedroom holiday home from £60; a four-berth static from £65 and pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £20.
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 £21 (from 21 April) and camping pods from £45.
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 experiences of Brontë Country, Stones Cottage Farm at nearby Haworth has non-electric tent pitches from £12 a night, available on Fridays and Saturdays.
Nearby in North Yorkshire , Harrogate's Rudding Holiday Park has tent and tourer pitches available from £16 a night in April and May, on a park with its own helipad, pub, pool and access to the hotel facilities including spa, golf course and private cinema.
Coed Cefn, Powys
Overlooking the village of Crickhowell, 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. Powys Pods at nearby Hay-on-Wye has camping pods available throughout most of April and May from £35 sleeping two and £45 sleeping five on a working organic hill farm in the Welsh Marches.
Over the border in Monmouthshire , adults-only Wernddu Farm Golf Club is seven miles from Crickhowell and has tent pitches from £13.50, serviced tourer and motorhome pitches from £17.50 and - as you might guess from the name - a pitch and putt course, clubhouse and driving range on site.
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:
First published April 2013; updated April 2014.