Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
8:12 PM 19th April 2021

Time To Walk In A Bluebell Wood

Image by Mandy Whalley from Pixabay
Image by Mandy Whalley from Pixabay
Bluebells flower between mid-April and late May, but the best time to see bluebells in the North of England is generally late April to May and they make a colourful backdrop to a springtime walk.

An enchanting carpet of native bluebells is a great indicator of ancient woodland, which is one of our rarest and most irreplaceable habitats, covering just 2% of the country's landmass.

Walking in a Bluebell wood is a delight and a highlight of any springtime walk in the countryside and with lockdown gradually easing we can all benefit from the pleasure of these lovely springtime flowers.

Some interesting facts about bluebells:

Image by Wolfram Strachwitz from Pixabay
Image by Wolfram Strachwitz from Pixabay
Bluebells are delicate and easily damaged, especially if they’re trodden on. Damage can prevent the leaves from photosynthesizing, causing the plant to die back.

Bluebells take between five and seven years to get established, so minor damage can have long-lasting impact. Help to look after the bluebells by watching where you tread, and sticking to marked pathways.

Bluebells can be found, usually, between mid-April and late May, when the flowers can make the most of light reaching the forest floor before the full woodland canopy casts its shade.

Occasionally you will spot white bluebells in amongst the violet - this is caused by a genetic mutation.

Half of the world's population of bluebells are here in the UK.

Bluebells are an ancient woodland indicator - meaning that they commonly appear in areas that have been wooded since 1600AD, and reply upon the unique conditions this habitat can provide.

Know the law about bluebells:

Trampling is not the only threat that bluebells face: Since 1998 it has been illegal for anyone to pick native bluebells from the wild for sale.

Remember, bluebells are a protected species in the UK and therefore you shouldn't dig them up or pick them.

Image by jLasWilson from Pixabay
Image by jLasWilson from Pixabay
Insects love bluebells:

Bees, butterflies and hoverflies are all attracted to bluebells, probably because of the striking blue and purple colours which stand out from the woodland greenery making them easy to spot by these pollinators. Bluebells provide a valuable, early source of nectar for bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects.

Some places to see bluebells in the North:

Aughton Woods, Lancashire

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire

Hackfall, nr Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Nidd Gorge, nr Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire

Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire

Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire

Skipton Castle Woods, North Yorkshire

Speke Hall, Merseyside

Waterhead, Ambleside

Check before you visit:
Before visiting and because of the coronavirus pandemic do check with the websites that the places are open and whether you have to book.

The National Trust is one of the organisations in the UK for bluebell conservation. A quarter of the Trust's woodland is ancient or semi-natural; the ideal habitats for bluebells.

The Woodland Trust woods are a pleasure to visit all year round but the jewel in the crown has got to be spring when bluebells cover the woodland floor.