If every spring you can hardly wait to search for “bluebell woods near me”, you are not alone. The bloom of the bluebells is eagerly expected by nature lovers, not only to enjoy their beauty but also the sweet fragrance. From early April until late March, the country’s woodland is covered with a delicate blue and purple carpet. There are so many gorgeous bluebell woods in England. In fact, did you know that the United Kingdom has half of the world’s bluebell crops? Consequently, you can be certain that there is a bluebell wood near you.
Walking through bluebell woods is not only a treat for the eyes, but it also helps with relaxation and your wellbeing. As bluebell woods tend to get quite popular during the weekend, I highly recommend exploring them on a weekday, in the morning when the air is still crisp and fresh.
When you visit a bluebell wood near you, please be mindful, follow the trails and don’t stray from the path, or you could tread on the delicate flowers.
There are many places in England where you can see bluebells. Here is a list with some of the most beautiful and tranquil bluebell walks:
New Forest, Hamsphire
Contributed by Izzy from The Gap Decaders
The bluebells in the New Forest in Hampshire are famous locally for their abundance and rich colour. Ask a commoner (the term used for those that live in the Forest, because they have rights to graze their livestock on common land) where you can see the best bluebells, and you’ll find it’s a closely guarded secret.
There are a few places where the bluebells are always exceptional, and one of the most beautiful places is in the woods near Fritham, a tiny, picture-perfect hamlet in the north of the New Forest. Park at the free Forestry Commission carpark and head into the lush woods during April and May, for a colourful display which will take your breath away.
Follow the gravel path across Fritham Plain, where you will see New Forest ponies grazing, then over the five bar gate into Amberwood Inclosure and down the snaking hill. Once in the shaded dell, you’ll start to see the delicate mauve hue misting the entire forest floor with colour.
You can walk an entire loop around the forest, back to Fritham, with the bluebells as your constant companion on both sides of the path, and deep into the shaded forest. Stop and enjoy the peace and if you’re lucky, you may see deer amongst the flowers.
Fritham is also home to an excellent pub, The Royal Oak, which serves a small but perfectly formed lunch menu and delicious local ales. The perfect place to stop after your New Forest walk.
Wembury Woods, Devon
By Annemarie from Travel on the Brain
Wembury Woods, right by the coast surrounding the village of Wembury, ticks all the boxes when it comes to epic bluebell sightings.
The area is easily accessed by car, coming from Plymouth. Alternatively, visitors can take the local number 48 bus to a stop just in front of the village. Entrance is entirely free and there are no set opening times. Just make sure that you check the bus schedule in advance, so you’re not left stranded.
There are multiple trails leading into and around the woods. In fact, there are multiple woods (namely Traine and Hollacombe Wood) in the area, and they are all interconnected and beautifully strewn with bluebells come spring time. Walking time is about an hour, more if you are serious about taking photos and really getting those close-ups.
Paths can be narrow and muddy after a recent rainfall, so adequate shoes are recommended. It is hard to get lost here as the trails are set up as a round tour, but you can still check the official map.
If it’s a particularly beautiful and warm day, you can saunter into the village, and further down for approximately 122m to the small stretch of beach at Wembury Bay. Surrounding the area are rolling hills and farmland, which makes it a super picturesque day trip for any lover of the English countryside. For more photos and a hiking report on bluebells in Wembury Woods, click here.
Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire
Contributed by Jacquie from Flashpacking Family
The bluebells woods at Ashridge Estate are truly a sight to behold, and Ashridge is one of the best places to see bluebells in Hertfordshire.
Ashridge Estate is a National Trust run property with 5000 acres of ancient woodlands in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Hertfordshire. It is criss-crossed with over 80 miles of walking trails and is lovely to visit at any time of the year, but it is truly spectacular in the spring when the bluebells are in bloom.
The estate is free to visit all year round, but since the bluebells have become so popular with people visiting from miles around, the National Trust charges a fee during peak bluebell times.
Between 10am and 4pm at the weekends there is a fee of £3 per adult and £1 per child. This fee goes towards ensuring the protection of the bluebells.
Whilst you can see bluebells dotted all over the woodlands at Ashridge, the best place to see them is Dockey Woods.
When you are done visiting the bluebells, you can climb the Bridgewater Monument (open April to October) which is a huge column, built in memory of the Duke of Bridgewater who lived at Ashridge House on the Ashridge Estate.
There are a challenging 172 steps, but at the top you will be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, and on a clear day, you might be able to see as far as Canary Wharf in London. There is a fee of £1 per person to climb the monument.
Hayman Nature Reserve, Cornwall
Contributed by Heather from Conversant Traveller
One of the best places to see bluebells in a forest setting in northern Cornwall is the Hayman Nature Reserve, a mixed broad-leaved woodland just 10 minutes’ drive south of Perranporth near the Mithian Downs. There are several different habitats here, as well as a small quarry and evidence of Medieval enclosures. Parking is roadside, or in one of the nearby villages.
Also known as Park Hoskyn, this little visited reserve is hidden away in a small but beautiful valley, and it’s the sort of place where you won’t bump into anyone else, thus having the bluebells all to yourself. Maintained by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, it’s free to enter and a visit can last between 1-2 hours depending on how much you want to explore. To see the bluebells in full bloom, head there during April or May and follow the network of public footpaths and bridleways around the valley sides. It is steep in places, so sturdy footwear is advised.
The area around Hayman is rural and idyllic, and it’s also home to one of the best glamping sites in Cornwall, namely Wrinkler’s Wood. Located right on the edge of the nature reserve, visitors staying on the site can wander through the bluebell woods easily at any time of the day. There are lots of other public footpaths in the area, and it’s not far from the heritage coast of St. Agnes where there are plenty of famous tin mines to discover. Just down the road from the reserve is the tiny village of Mithian where you’ll find the Miller’s Arms, a great spot for lunch or dinner after a walk amongst the bluebells.
Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire
Contributed by Maja from Away with Maja
One of the best places to see bluebells in the UK is around Roseberry Topping in the North York Moors National Park. At 320 meters high, Roseberry Topping one of the most distinct hills in the area, and a very popular place for hiking with amazing views out to the sea, from the top. During the spring and summer months, bluebells bloom at the base of Roseberry Topping in Newton Wood, carpeting the area in gorgeous purple flowers. There are walking paths throughout the wood, plus the well-trodden path up to the top of Roseberry Topping with its trig point. There is no entrance fee to see the bluebells around Roseberry Topping.
The most convenient car park is the North York Moors National Park car park at Newton under Roseberry, which charges £2.70 for up to 2 hours, or £4.80 for over 2 hours. It’s a short walk to Newton Wood, about 15-20 minutes, but if you want to hike all the way up Roseberry Topping it’ll take about 35-45 minutes. For a longer option, walk out to the Captain Cook’s Monument, across Newton Moor.
The bluebells around Roseberry Topping and Newton Wood look especially spectacular in the early evening light!
Plymbridge Woods, Devon
Contributed by Nesha from Niche Travelling
Found in Plympton Devon, Plymbridge stretches 120 acres and is full of wildlife from plants such as wild garlic and bluebells to peregrine falcons and deer. It is a historic place named after the grade II listed Plymbridge which was built in 1238. There are many walking and cycling paths for all to enjoy here, whether you want a little stroll or to enjoy a whole day out. These paths let you get up close and personal with history as they take you past the remains of buildings built for use by the families involved in the quarry industry, which closed down in 1962. It is currently managed by the National Trust but, is free to visit any time of the year with parking dotted around different areas.
If you don’t have a bike but fancy a cycle, there is a bike hire company at Coypool Park and Ride Plympton. You can start your journey from here as the path leads straight to Plymbridge, and again the parking is free. This is also a great place if you are interested in trains, as it has a railway attraction open to the public where you can even drive a train.
If it’s a walk you fancy, then make sure you’re wearing sensible shoes (especially wellies in the winter). There are so many paths to explore in this area. Some take you alongside the river while others take you up into the woods where you can look over some stunning views. These paths can take you as far out as Tavistock if you let them but just remember, you’ll have to make it back.
Heartwood Forest, Hertfordshire
Contributed by Annabel from Smudged Postcard
Heartwood Forest is an interesting project – a whole new woodland created over the last few years by hundreds of volunteers through the Woodland Trust.
As well as the new forest, there is also mature woodland at Heartwood, which is where you will find the fantastic display of bluebells each spring. There is a designated walkway through the bluebell woods to protect these delicate flowers from any too enthusiastic trampling.
Heartwood Forest is located close to London, near the small city of St Albans in Hertfordshire. The forest is best reached by car and there’s a large free car park. Information boards have walking suggestions – there are trails of varying lengths and parts of the new woodland have been laid out with younger walkers in mind. If you are visiting Heartwood with children, they will enjoy the den building activities in the woods as it is the perfect natural playground for little ones.
As well as the woods, there are meadows and newly planted hedgerows which are maturing nicely. In summertime there are other wild flowers which poke through the meadow grass. There are numerous pathways winding their way through the fields which are perfect for walks and bike rides. There are plenty of delightful villages close by, with traditional country pubs which are perfect for refreshments if the weather is not suitable for picnicking.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Contributed by Anisa from Norfolk Local Guide
The Blickling Estate, a stately home just a short drive north of Norwich, has taken care to manage their woodland so that their bluebells are breathtaking. Towards the end of April until early May, you can see bluebells in the Great Wood, along the Temple Walk, and under the plane trees near the Hall. It’s the perfect time to explore the many trails around the estate.
Even if it’s not bluebell season, Blickling is worth visiting. It’s best known as the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and mother of Elizabeth I. The house that you see today dates back to the 17th century, so it’s not the same house Anne would have lived in, but still there have been sightings of her headless ghost. Other notable people that have called Blickling home include Sir Henry Hobart and Philip Henry Kerr. During the second World War, RAF servicemen and women were stationed at the estate.
The library is the highlight inside the house, it is estimated the collection includes around 14,000 volumes. You will also want to see the Mausoleum which is about 2 miles from the house in the Great Wood. The grounds of Blickling are perfect for a picnic, but if you don’t want to bring your own food, there are several cafes.
Blickling is a National Trust site, so members can visit for free.
Buzzards Woodlands, Devon
Contributed by Kat from Wandering Bird
One of the best places to see bluebells in the UK is Devon, and one of the best in Devon is a National Trust property called Buzzards Woodlands.
This beautiful woodland is in the popular Dart Valley, yet remains surprisingly tranquil. The estate is cared for by the Knighthayes team, who also manage the huge estate nearby (also National Trust and well worth adding to your Devon road trip plans!)
Buzzard Woods is easy to find, driving from Tiverton towards Withleigh on the B3137, follow the signs to the parish church and then the signs for National Trust car parking.
Despite it being a National Trust place, you do not need to be a member to visit and there is no fee or gate, so you can just park your car and go walking. Be careful not to block the road as tractors and farm vehicles use the small lane regularly.
Once in the woodland, there are multiple paths to take and roam around. You won’t miss the bluebells, they are EVERYWHERE when in bloom. There’s plenty of places to get great photos and you can even bring a picnic and blanket and sit near them for a while (although do be careful not to crush them!)
The woods are large, and some sections are steep, which people with mobility issues might find difficult, but the area by the parking is fairly flat. There are no facilities or tea rooms like you might expect, as this is National Trust woodland, not a property.
Longwood and Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Contributed by Suzanne from Meandering Wild
Cheddar Gorge is located in Somerset and is about 40minutes south of Bristol and Bath. The area is best known for Cheddar Gorge, the deepest gorge in England which has deep limestone caves that tunnel under the Mendip Hills.
Driving up through the gorge is spectacular and at the very top you will find a small layby and gate into Black Rock and Longwood Nature Reserves. Following the trail past the old Black Rock quarry will take you to Longwood which is a deep wooded valley. These woods have steep sides that in the spring are blue with bluebells. This bluebell woodland is home to deer that can be seen from time to time. There is a circular path around the nature reserve with steep steps up to the top of the bluebells. The woodland also has a small stream to explore and a number of cave entrances with winches that were used for mining.
From Black Rock Quarry there is a path that will take you across the open moorland back down to Cheddar village where bluebells can be seen along the way. If you are feeling energetic it is possible to complete a circular route from Cheddar village to Longwood and then back along the opposite side of the gorge with fantastic views out across to the Somerset Coast and Wales beyond.
Epping Forest, London
Contributed by Bridget from The Flashpacker
Take a walk in Epping Forest to witness one of London’s best bluebell extravaganzas.
Tucked into the north-eastern corner of London, the ancient woodlands of Epping Forest offer an extensive choice of year-round walking trails across its 8,000 acres, from gentle strolls to more vigorous hikes. These include nine circular waymarked trails covering a distance of 1.25 to 6.6 miles.
Epping Forest has a rural feel. Don’t be surprised if you stumble across grazing longhorn cattle! Connaught Water, one of the most popular spots in the forest, is bird-watchers’ heaven and is home to ducks, geese and swans.
Come springtime, Epping Forest is transformed by carpets of bluebells. For your best chance of seeing bluebells, head to Bluehouse Grove, Chalet Wood or Strawberry Hill.
There are multiple ways to reach Epping Forest by public transport; your choice will depend on the area of the forest that you are visiting. For Bluehouse Grove, the nearest station is Chingford (London Overground). Alternatively, take London Underground to Wanstead (for Chalet Wood) or Loughton (for Strawberry Hill Ponds). Local buses also serve Epping Forest.
Entry to Epping Forest is free and there are four visitor centres where you can pick up maps and information.
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