List Words : Graihagh Jackson | 25 March

The UK's top 5 bluebell woods RD

Every spring, we're treated to blankets of bluebells. Graihagh Jackson goes in search of the best places to admire them around the UK

1. Danbury Common and Blake Heath, Essex

For a true-blue sight, don't miss the 100 acres of stream valleys, mature oaks and chestnut trees spread across Danbury Common and Black Heath. Dotted among the carpets of bluebells are primroses, gorse and even yellow archangels.

Bring your binoculars and see if you can spot a nightingale or a hawfinch. For avid birdwatchers, make a stop at the Backwarden nature reserve on the south-western edge of Danbury Common.

Check out the tea room at Eves Corner in Danbury for a pit-stop after exploring the near-by nature.

2. Tamar Valley, Cornwall/Devon border

If you're an impatient person then the Tamar Valley is the perfect place to explore bluebell woods. The milder, damper climate here means the flowers usually flourish earlier than the rest of the UK.

Deemed one of the UK's 'Areas of Outstanding Beauty' the valley's woodlands, rivers and hilly landscapes, also make the perfect place for a good old ramble.

Walk along the idyllic woodland paths between Lower Grenofen to Horrabridge to not only admire bluebells, but watch deer in secluded meadows and buzzards soar overhead.

3. Avon Water and Green Bridge, Chatelherault

One of Scotland's best country parks houses thousands of bluebells every spring. Take to the ten miles of paths around wooded gorges, through wild garlic and past 800 year old Cadzow oaks. Home to some of the oldest woodland in the country, this is an area in need of exploration.

As a beacon for bio-diversity, take the time to spot some of Britain’s most spectacular wildlife including otters, bats and badgers.

If the weather turns gloomy (as we know the British weather can) pop in at the Chatelherault hunting lodge and summer house. Originally built in the 1730s, the buildings are now home to exhibitions teaching the area's history and wildlife.

4. Yoxall Lodge, Staffordshire

To see some of the best unspoilt woodlands that Staffordshire has to offer, get down to Yoxall Lodge. This parkland boasts 100 acres of native shrubbery and pasture, and is only opened for one month every year with the bluebell season in mind. The forest floors are coated with native bluebells and also with rare, white bluebells too.

The area's best walk, although a little steep to begin with, is the Lodge Hill Walk (blue waymarkers), which winds around ribbons of bluebells and mossy green trees. Stop for a picnic at Foxholes to admire the springtime blooms while tucking into a tasty ploughman's sandwich.

This year, Yoxall Lodge opens its doors to the public on 14 April for one month. 

5. Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire

With history dating back more than 2,000 years, Dinefwr Park and Castle is not just a great spot for bluebells. Amble around the Castle Woods to get your fill of blue and then explore the 12th century Welsh castle, home to Lord Rhys – one of the most prosperous Welsh princes.

At the heart of this National Trust Reserve is Newton House and its surrounding 18th century landscaped garden. If you're lucky, you might come across one of the 100 fallow deer in the medieval deer park. If not, the small herd of a very old and rare breed of cattle are always a welcomed sighting.

Newton House, built in 1660 but now with a Gothic façade, has a tea room overlooking the deer park and an exhibition, for history buffs wanting to learn more about Dinefwr Castle.

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