In folklore, bluebells would ring at daybreak to call fairies to the woods. No wonder they have amazing powers to draw people into the countryside to enjoy this natural spectacle.
You can’t get more English than a bluebell. In April and May, these delicate wildflowers carpet the ancient woodlands before the tree canopy closes for summer and blocks out the sunlight. The green shoots appear from March and then it’s a game of cat and mouse as various woodlands vie for the first sightings.
I never tire of this seasonal spectacle and return to favourite sites each year just to sit quietly and listen to the sounds of the forest. Bees, lambs, woodpeckers and if I am lucky, butterflies too. I am fortunate to have Ashridge Forest and Wendover Woods nearby, which are big enough to absorb those who want to walk and explore and those who want to park and plunge in.
But don’t rush, there is nothing more disappointing than a site with just a few flowers, you want the carpet effect! They damage easily however, and once a hint of a footpath through the flowers is spotted, then more boots will follow. Bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
It’s the bank holiday month ahead, and the woods will be busy. If you are answering the call of the fairies, please don’t be a visitor with their dog/children/family/Instagram marooned in a sea of bluebells having portraits taken. Be creative and find another angle.
Links you will need
For all things blue, head over to Chilterns Gifts for locally designed stationery, cards, prints, mugs and tea-towels.
Coming soon to a woodland near you, here are UK bluebells woodlands and some less well known nature reserves.
Ashridge Forest is vast, and it gets busy at Dockey Wood. There are other options.
All the images in these newsletters are copyright of Mary Tebje. If you wish to use any, or to improve your own photography, please get in touch in the usual way. You can also find me @ChilternHills on Instagram.
Hi Mary! I've dreamed of visiting the UK since a little girl, and I'm finally going to make that happen in the next year and a half. I'll be sure to add Ashridge to my list of places to visit, if I arrive in Spring. Those bluebells are simply stunning. :))
Love the picture!