Over the space of a few weeks in spring, from mid-April onwards, bluebells set our woodlands ablaze with their bright blue flowers. The UK is home to more than half the world’s population of bluebells, making it our unofficial national flower. Their presence is a sure sign you are in a very old woodland.
Bluebells are the start of the show in springtime woodlands but there's lots more to see and hear too. Listen out for woodland birds singing from the branches. Many bluebells woods will be home to birds that have migrated thousands of miles to the UK to breed like the blackcap, wood warbler, nightingale and chiffchaff.
On the ground look for other woodland wildflowers among the bluebells like the delicate white stars of stitchwort and the unmissable pink spikes of early purple orchids. Remember it’s not just about the colour. The flowers have a distinctive if subtle sweet scent: get down amongst the nodding flower heads and take a deep sniff too!
If you can't get to an old woodland look out for bluebells growing in road verges, in small patches of woodland and in parks and gardens in April and May. But outside ancient woodlands you might be looking at spanish bluebells which are subtly different to our native english bluebells and can be found in parks and gardens.
WANT TO VISIT A BLUEBELL WOOD?
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