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