Waresley and Gransden Woods, Cambridgeshire are adjacent ancient oak-ash woods, managed by the BCN Wildlife Trusts
Every spring their woodland floor is thickly carpeted with bluebells, wood anemone, primroses, oxlips and violets.
The woods are managed using coppicing and thinning practices to allow light to penetrate to ground level, encouraging wildflowers to grow.
Native bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) have narrow leaves, arching heads, a violet bell-shaped flowers and a light, but distinctive fragrance. They are slightly smaller and more delicate than Spanish bluebells.
Wild native bluebells like moisture in the winter and shade in summer. This year’s dry spring has left the usual ever-present thick mossy undergrowth quite exposed and dull looking.
Views of the bluebell flowers on the slopes down to Dean Brook in the middle of the woods are delightful and are some of the best around …
And the air is heavy with their all-pervasive unique perfume
Although the wood anemones were mostly over when I visited (30/4/2019), ferns were beginning to unfurl and Dog’s Mercury was coming into flower.
Bluebell leaves are delicate and easily crushed. Such damage restricts the plant’s ability to photosynthesise and bulk up the bulbs, so many managed woods have quite regimented pathways marked out to protect the carpets of flowers.
“I do not think that I have ever seen anything more beautiful than the bluebell I have been looking at. I know the beauty of the Lord by it. Its inscape is mixed of strength and grace, like an ash tree.” – Gerald Manley Hopkins
Living in the damp middle of nowhere
Absolutely stunning. A bluebell wood is an inspiring sight.
You just can’t beat an English bluebell wood. Lovely photos.
Thanks Liz. This is one that I’ve only just discovered, so I see years of visits ahead!
What we call bluebells are a prairie flower. They’re just as lovely, but the mix of flowers and woods is a special treat. There are places in east Texas where such sights can be found (albeit with different flowers), but these scenes are glorious. Your bluebell woods are justly famous!
There is a lovely hazy quality of light in an English bluebell wood. Now prairie spreads are like impressionist paintings and just as wonderful. What also I like to see are the fields of blue lupins I’ve seen on some American blogs!
Thank you for this lovely hike.
You are welcome!
Lovely to walk along with you. The quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins made me smile. Not many would have thought of comparing a bluebell to a tree, yet he was so right.
For some reason I hated studying GMH when I was at school, but I now find myself quoting him!
Simply the best thank you.
Actually, thank you Christina, because your comment a few weeks ago made me go looking for a new bluebell wood to investigate … And I’ve now noted a little chain of them running West, so I’ve got a couple more to explore!
I so miss bluebells! Where I live on the edge of the Jura is so English in many ways but there are no hearstoppingly beautiful carpets of bluebells .
My Mum used to take my sister and I on bluebell picnics as children, so they are beloved in more than one way.