Bluebell woods. The quintessential sign of British springtime. That time of the year when ancient woodlands across the country are swept in a sea of blue in the dense green woods. For a long time now, I have been on the hunt for the best bluebell woods in Derbyshire. There are some stunning examples further south in England but I wanted to find somewhere to see them closer to home.
The past couple of years I’ve seen small clumps of bluebells dotted around on my walks, but just a handful of bluebells doesn’t have the same effect. You need to experience a walk through an ancient wood, take in the scent of the flowers and listen as the birds sing their song. Everything comes alive and the flourish of bluebells rings in spring time. Seriously, it wouldn’t be spring in England without it.
Where Are The Best Bluebell Woods In Derbyshire?
Head to the beautiful estate of Calke Abbey in the sleepy village of Ticknall. Late April and early May is when these beauties come alive. And it was in the first week of May that I took a walk along a different path at one of my local favourites, Calke Abbey. I have been visiting Calke since I was a child, (you can read more about the property in my post here) and yet I had never encountered the bluebell woods before. This is one of the many reasons I love slow travel so much. You truly don’t know what is on your doorstep and you can always find something new no matter how many times you have visited a place.
We parked up by the 1000 year old oak and instead of taking our usual walk, turned left following the blue arrows. Two minutes later and we were on a path through a wonderful old part of the woods, laden with bluebells. On this hot morning, the shade of the trees was welcome and allowed for wonderful beams of light to peek through the canopy.
The Importance Of Bluebells In England
The native British bluebell is the Hyacinthoides non-scripta. They spend most of the year underground as bulbs and grow best in dense, shady woodland. Their presence usually indicates ancient woodland that has existed for hundreds of years and as such is always an area of natural and historical interest. Not only have bluebells been voted the favourite wild flower in England, they are also protected by law. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, nobody is allowed to dig up bulbs in the countryside and landowners cannot remove bluebells on their land for sale. Those caught will face a £1000 fine per bulb. The Botanical Society of the British Isles gives more information and lists all special protected here.
Whether you pay a visit to enjoy the Bluebell woods at Calke Abbey or any other wood across the country, please always remember to respect the flowers and where you walk. This will ensure their survival for years to come and allow countless others to enjoy a carpet of bluebell woods for themselves.
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