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My Guide to the best Bluebell Woods in Devon Dorset and Somerset

My Guide to the best Bluebell Woods in Devon Dorset and Somerset

Best Bluebell Woods in Devon Dorset and Somerset

I love bluebells –  the heady scent, their amazing colour and the promise they bring that summer is really on its way again. A walk in the types of ancient woodlands that bluebells love is hard to beat. The leaves of the beech trees emerge almost fluorescent green,  the sun dappling through their branches casting shadows on the bluebells so that together they look so beautiful.

This is my guide to the best Bluebell Woods on the Devon, Dorset, Somerset borders – there are no doubt others that you know of, but these are local ones on my doorstep so I’m a bit biased! Some I have been recommended so I have to admit I’ve not been to all of them yet.  So that’s the plan for this Spring, new woods and more photos! Please tell me your favourite spots for me to visit and hope you get out to discover some new places yourself.

West Dorset

Charmouth Forest

These woods are well known to locals but designed to confuse anyone new. Known locally as Charmouth Forest they are not in Charmouth at all, but a few miles away on the edge of village called Wootton Fitzpaine.

The lower section of woods are beech woods, which is where you will find the most amazing display of bluebells.  A nice circular walk will take you through the woods and also offers fabulous views of Charmouth.  The woods also extend North and West, this larger part is Forestry Commission. This area is maintained pine woods so not as attractive, but the advantage is there is a good track. It offers plenty of area to explore and means that walking is accessible for everyone here including those of you with pushchairs (although you may struggle in amongst where the bluebells are sorry).

Best bluebell woods in Devon Dorset Wotton Fitzpaine
Best Bluebell woods in Devon Dorset Charmouth view

To reach the woods head along the the B3165 (Lyme Regis to Crewkerne Road). Approx 3 miles from Raymonds Hill (A35) turn at the Devon Dorset border through the white gates (there’s a geocache at the base of one!). Wind along for about 1 mile following signs for Wootton Fitzpaine.  There is a car park set off the road on the left in a clearing in the trees. The woods are also referred to as Champernhayes Woods or Wootton Hill.

Coney’s Castle

Set 1/2 mile from the well known Lambert’s Castle, this ancient hill fort is awash with bluebells in the spring and is lovely for a short walk. Make the circuit around the edge of the fort and enjoy the peace and quiet of the centre where you could stop for a picnic or lay back and watch the clouds roll by. Cross the road and you can enjoy the stunning views across the Marshwood Vale. This is a National Trust site, and is in fact very close to the woods described above. Coney’s Castle is just off the B3165. There is a car park off the road.

Best bluebell Woods Devon Dorset Coneys Castle

Colmer’s Hill

This iconic tree topped hill near Bridport is not a place you would expect to see bluebells. However surprisingly the hillside is covered in them. It makes a change from the leafy woodland walks and beech trees that we usually associate with bluebells. Even better of course are the stunning views from the top.

Here’s a link to a walk that I wrote up last year on Colmer’s Hill

Devon

Holyford Woods, near Seaton

One of the oldest woodlands in England, this nature reserve is managed by the East Devon Countryside team and Holyford  Woodland Trust with their band of volunteers. This woodland is beautiful for a walk at anytime of year. It’s not the most accessible place to access or walk around (access is via a fairly steep hill from Tower Garage), but it makes it all the more special. Here is a link to some more information about Holyford Woods.

Best bluebell woods Devon Dorset Somerset Holyford Woods

Blackury Camp

Last year I took myself along to Blackbury Camp (near Sidmouth). Known far and wide for its bluebells which are set in and around this hill fort.

This is a really lovely place and also perfect for toddlers, one of the few woods suitable for buggy’s and great for a picnic.

Take a look at my blog post from last year for more details about this site and a great place for a cuppa afterwards – Blackbury Castle.

Best Bluebell Woods Devon and Dorset

Coombe Wood near Honiton

This is one of those places that the National Trust and locals keep secret from us. Lots of places like this are not listed in the NT guide book but are scattered around the countryside. Last year I was  bit late to see the bluebells but I’ve heard it’s one of the best. However it’s a lovely walk at any time of year. 

The woods are small and there is a one mile circular walk around the perimeter, the perfect length for a stroll for all ages.  This woodland is just to the north of Honiton.  You can read more about Combe Woods here.

Best bluebell woods Devon Dorset Somerset bluebell

Otterhead Lakes and Woods

If you are a regular reader then you will know I recently wrote about Otterhead Lakes south of Taunton  – these showed great potential for bluebells – please let me know what it’s like now.

Offwell Woods

Another of my winter walks that will be springing into life and sharing it’s bluebells. Offwell Woods are near Honiton just off the A35 – here’s the link to the post Offwell Woods.

SOMERSET

Wayford Woods

Popping across the border into Somerset are the lovely Wayford Woods near Clapton. When I went it was late May and the rhododendrons were in bloom so I had missed the bluebells –  but I’ve taken it from good authority that they are also worth the trip for.  Read my post on Wayford Woods for more details.

Best Bluebell Woods Devon Dorset Somerset Wayford Woods

Castle Neroche

In Somerset I also have Castle Neroche to visit which was originally a hill fort. It’s just a short drive North from the A303 heading towards Taunton (the turning by the Eagle Tavern pub for anyone who knows the area).  Castle Neroche is very popular and is a Forestry Commission site that has marked paths and routes to follow.

Thurlbear Wood

Another bluebell place I have recently heard about is Thurlbear Wood Nature Reserve near Taunton. This is managed by Somerset Wildlife Trust –  do let me know if you’ve been and how good it is.

Phew that’s quite a list even if I do say so myself! The last few years everyone seems to have gone a bit bluebell mad – they were talking about them on Radio 2 as if it’s a new discovery. It seems we are now being asked to report on the bluebells we find, so if that’s what you’d like to do as well as search for more woods then there are a couple of links.

Other places to look for bluebells and to log your finds:

Woodland trust Bluebell Watch

Wildlife Trust –  Dazzled by Bluebells

Finally please do leave me comments once you’ve read this post or after you’ve been to any of these places to let me and other readers know how you found got on. Happy bluebell hunting. 

 

The Helpful Hiker

About The Author

mm

Whether you are on holiday, recently moved to the region or like me live here and realise that there are great places a just few miles away that seem to have passed you by, then I hope you enjoy reading this.

13 Comments

  1. Fiona Cambouropoulos

    This is a great list of woods with some lovely photos, I agree we have gone quite bluebell mad as a nation, but they are so pretty. To me watching out for bluebells is one of the first signs of summer. I spent this afternoon in our bluebell woods here with one of my boys, our pet lamb and a camera. A lovely way to enjoy a day in the countryside..

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    Reply
    • mm

      Yes I agree – it’s something all ages can appreciate and summer is on it’s way soon. #CountryKids badge now added!

      Reply
  2. KAren : Twotinyhands

    How fab to have got a list together. I remember last year my blog feed went crazy for bluebells but living in the north of England I couldn’t seem to find any at first. Turns out ours bloom a few weeks later than in a the south and I got my Bluebells in the end. Agree that they are super pretty!! #countrykids

    Reply
    • mm

      I had been visiting bluebell woods and taking photos well before I started blogging so it seemed like a good idea to pull it all together as I many people kept asking for the best places to go.

      Reply
  3. Michelle Twin Mum

    Great idea for a post, people are always looking for the amazing blue fields at this time of year. I’m lucky enough that they are all over the estate where I live., Mich x #countrykids

    Reply
  4. Sian

    I love things like this – events that make us feel more connected to nature and the seasons as our day to day lives don’t depend on seasonality any more. My kids love bluebell hunting and always associate them with fairies too! Lovely round up post! #CountryKids

    Reply
  5. mudpie fridays

    I didn’t think of checking out the national trust website for bluebell locations but will have to do that as we are in Cornwall this weekend and Ive no idea where there are any fields. What a great selection and I am sue this is valuable info for locals. x #CountryKids

    Reply
  6. Helena

    I’m in love with spring and it’s beautiful bluebells bursting forth. #CountryKids

    Reply
  7. annabel

    I had to google some pictures of Colmer’s Hill after reading your post about it, what a strange and unique little hill! And the bluebells are such an unusual feature. You live in such a stunning part of the country! #adventurecalling

    Reply
    • mm

      Yes it is a unique hill and the focus of endless stunning photos, paintings and artwork shown around here. The views are wonderful.

      Reply
  8. Emma Hip2trek

    Thank you for the reminder to log bluebell sightings! I’m in the North of England but enjoyed reading your post, I was desperately looking for some last year. I think they do seem more popular and social media seemed to be covered by them and then lavender later on! I must get better bluebell hunts in this year. #AdventureCalling

    Reply
  9. David - Potty Adventures

    This is a great guide. We’ll certainly make use of if we’re ever down that way at the right time of year. Bluebells are such a beautifully iconic countryside thing that you can’t help but love them. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling. We’re back open in the morning for new posts.

    Reply
  10. Lauren The Helpful Hiker

    I love bluebell time, it brings back great memories of when I was young. I haven’t got round to seeing many this year but hopefully they’ll hang around for a few more days. This is a fab list, so many gorgeous places right on your doorstep! Thank you for sharing with us #AdventureCalling

    Reply

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About Clare

Clare Flipflops or WelliesHi! I am Clare and I live in glorious East Devon with my family. I love finding new places to explore in the West Country as well as further afield. I hope you enjoy reading and taking inspiration from my blog.

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