My social media feeds are full of gorgeous bluebell pictures at the moment, for some reason they seem to have popped up in a lot more places this year – are the dreaded Spanish invaders marching over our precious countryside? I don’t think so, but not being greatly horticultural I’m afraid I haven’t studied the difference, to me they all look beautiful.
I love the hit on your senses, the newly emerging bright green beach tree leaves that smell amazing when crushed, the damp air as you kick up last year’s fallen leaf mould, the pungent wild garlic and of course the contrast with the bright blue flowers.
My primary school had a wonderful mossy beech wood where we were allowed to play (and climb ridiculously high trees unsupervised, God forbid!) and so I think it brings back happy memories of carefree days.
BLUEBELLS AND TEA
I was keen to get out and visit one of our local bluebell woods before it was too late. So in another moment of nostalgia I grabbed my mum and we set off for Blackbury Camp (between Beer and Sidmouth), spurred on by the promise of afternoon tea at Blackbury Honey Farm.
Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come, For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom.
From a poem by John Clare
Blackbury camp, an Iron Age hill fort, offers an easy flat area to walk around perfect if you want to take little ones with a pushchair or your grandmother, plus there’s the opportunity to run up and down and round the outside of the fort. It’s relatively small but there’s plenty of space for picnics, ball games, dogs and longer walks through the nearby country lanes. Parking is easy as well.
Of course it’s ideal to visit when the bluebells are in full bloom, but Blackbury camp offers a lovely safe environment all year round.
Next year I will endeavour to visit more local beauty spots at bluebell time, but if you get there before me, here are a few other recommendations for bluebell woods in East a Devon and West Dorset.
Wootton Fitzpaine Woods, Lamberts Castle and Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary woods. I’ll happily expand this list with your suggestions unless you want to keep them secret! Here’s my extended list of fabulous bluebell woods for you to explore.
Blackbury Camp is clearly marked with an English Heritage sign off the A3052 coast road between Beer and Sidmouth (turning inland) or from Honiton turn left at the Hare and Hounds Pub.
Follow the B3174 and then turn again at the signs, also directing you to Blackbury Honey Farm. Parking is in a carpark just off the lane about 1/2 mile after the Honey Farm. Post code EX24 6QW (this may take you the scenic route).