Best spots for bluebells
Our local woodlands will be carpeted in brilliant blue blooms shortly, so here’s where to catch them while they last – with nearby pit stops thrown in for good measure!
A big thank you to Hero, over at Muddy Bucks/Oxon for this post! I’ve added some locations in Herts.
What’s a sure sign that it’s finally Spring? Finally retiring your thermal vest, yes. But more excitingly it’s the arrival of bluebell season. We’re so lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods in our ‘hood. I’ve drawn up this list as a prompt as these stunning fields of blue are starting to bloom and will only last a few weeks. So, chop chop!
Every year when I write about bluebell hotspots I receive a flurry of messages about the ones I’ve forgotten. Have I finally nailed a comprehensive list this year, I wonder?! Please let me know if there are any omissions!
Heartwood Forest, Sandridge, St Albans
Heartwood is a ‘new’ wood, planted from scratch. It has had huge support from local volunteers and there is a great sense of community spirit here.
Sherrardspark Wood, Welwyn Garden City
Sherrardspark Wood is an old wood, mentioned in the Domesday Book, cited as a feeding ground for pigs. Beautiful hornbeams and a lovely place to walk, with a meeting place in the middle called Six Ways.
Pit stop: The Red Lion, Welwyn.
Hopkyns Wood, Tewin
Pit stop: The Country Bumpkin, Tewin.
There’s more ancient woodland in Gobions Wood, Potters Bar. Remnants of ancient ‘pleasure gardens’. Lots of bluebells and anemones in spring.
Greys Court, Henley
Not only a magically pretty National Trust building and gardens well worth a visit in its own right, but the Greys Court Spinney Woods are a sea of English bluebells, it’s an extrordinariliy beautiful site. Here’s my post about the bluebells at Greys Court from a few years back (an oldie but a goodie!). The walk itself is either a toddler friendly 750 metres or a more stretchy 2-3k depending on how you’re feeling.
Pit stop: Antony Worrall Thompson’s The Greyhound, Rotherfield Peppard, is 2.5 miles away.
Cowleaze Woods, nr Watlington
This lovely wood is set high in the Chiltern Hills with amazing views over the surrounding countryside. Plenty of paths to explore and a lovely option for little kids, with all the red kites flying around. But anywhere up near Christmas Common will provide stunning bluebells.
Pit stop: The Fox & Hounds at Christmas Common is less than 2 miles away.
Badbury Clump, nr Faringdon
A spectacular display of bluebells among the beech trees at Badbury Hill and Badbury Clump. Badbury Clump is the remains of an Iron Age hill fort from about 600BC with woodland paths and trails perfect for families, with a free car park nearby.
Pit stop: The Radnor Arms in the National Trust village of Coleshill
Foxholes, nr Burford
Ancient woodland 4 miles south of Burford, with an easy circular Wildlife Walk (1.75 miles) and carpets of bluebells in May, plus seven types of bat if you time your trip towards the end of the day!
Pit stop: The Shaven Crown in Shipton-under-Wychwood is less than 3 miles away.
Wendover Wood, Wendover
My local go-to bluebell display, this 325 hectare wood has a cafe, Go Ape, riding trails, children’s woodland play area and displays of bluebells on the extensive paths. You can easily spend a whole day up here, so go when it’s sunny to make the most of the facilities.
Hollington Wood, Bucks
A Muddy reader tipped us off about this ancient woodland 8 miles north of Milton Keynes. It’s privately owned so make sure you stick to the paths and you’ll need to pre-book parking on site. The owners hold an annual bluebell open day on the May Bank Holiday – 7 May this year, which involves guided walks, refreshments and kids’ activities.
Pit stop: The newly opened Cherry Tree in Olney
Stoke Wood, near Bicester
This 400-year-old Woodland Trust site is carpeted with blue beauties in the Spring and has marked trails so you won’t get lost and eaten by the Gruffalo or anything (and please stick to them – apparently rare fauna there is under threat from trampling). There’s also a variety of butterflies and birds, including tawny owls. Walked up an appetite?
Pit stop: Jacob’s Plough, Bicester
Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted
Yeah yeah I know, it’s just over the border into Herts, but the lovely 2000 hectare Ashridge Estate is awash with the little blue flowers over the next month. It’s all lovely and bikeable and there’s a decent outdoor cafe too.
Pit stop: The Alford Arms, Frithsden
Not forgetting… The Harcourt Arboretum at Nuneham Courtenay, south of Oxford with its peacocks and lovely gladed walks; Adams Wood, between Frieth and Skirmett a few miles east of Christmas Common; the coppiced beech wood of Low Scrubs near Coombe Hill, just south of Wendover; Magdalen College Oxford; the woodlands of Cliveden House in Taplow; the beech woodlands around Hambleden Valley. Phew!