Our favourite bluebell woods in the UK

If you go down to the woods today, you might be lucky enough to find one of the spectacular displays of bluebells bursting into life across the UK in May. We are very lucky that the British Isles are home to almost half the global population of common bluebells. After months of seeing our local woods brown and leafless, there is nothing quite like taking a walk through newly green woodland with a fragrant brushstroke of purple across the forest floor as far as the eye can see. Read on to find out if your local forest made our list of favourites.

Lisnabreeny, County Down

Soak up the carpets of bluebells and pretty wood anemones (another early-spring beauty) against the soundtrack of a cascading waterfall at Lisnabreeny, a 15-minute drive from Belfast. This picturesque mile-long walk runs alongside the flowing Cregagh Glen, and into the grounds of Lisnabreeny House, donated to the National Trust by the poet Nesca Robb in 1938. With unsurfaced paths and steep steps, it’s a bit of a workout, but rewards you at its end with magnificent views stretching from the Mourne Mountains to Scrabo Tower.

Open all year round.

Long Wood, Somerset

Nestled amongst the Mendip Hills, in medieval times this ancient woodland of mainly ash and hazel formed part of the holdings of the Carthusian monks from nearby Witham Priory. In among the bluebells you might also spot wood anemones as well as delicate wild orchids. The keen of nose might detect the scent of wild garlic, too!

Open all year round.

Hole Park, Kent

The colourful gardens and classic parkland at Hole Park have been owned by the same family for four generations, and include a bluebell wood that’s been called the best place in the country to see bluebells! Other floral spring delights include daffodils, camellias, magnolia and wisteria.

Open from 1 April to 31 October.

Skomer Island, Wales

So impressive are the displays of bluebells on this small isle – seen even from the mainland – that they’ve earned it the nickname ‘Blue Island’. Located just off the southwesternmost tip of Wales, Skomer is famous for its feathered inhabitants, and is home to thousands of seabirds, including puffins (best seen from April to July) and Manx shearwaters as well as seals and dolphins.

Open from 1 April to 30 September. Boats don’t depart to Skomer on Mondays, except on bank holidays.

Wood of Cree, Dumfries and Galloway

At 690 acres, this ancient oak woodland is the largest in western Scotland and not only carpeted with thousands of magnificent bluebells, but also home to otters, red squirrels and some unusual birds – species including pied flycatchers and wood warblers fill the spring days with their tuneful song.

Open all year round.

Bunny Old Wood, Nottinghamshire

Thought to have been tree covered for over 10,000 years, Bunny Old Wood is one of the oldest natural features in south Nottinghamshire. As well as hosting a spectacular display of bluebells, the wood is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Bunney Old Wood has a rich past and was managed as productive woodland from the 11th century until the 1920s. Following a brief spell of being left unmanaged, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust acquired it in the 1980s.

Open all year round.

Speke Hall, Merseyside

This timber framed Tudor manor house is surrounded by magical bluebell-filled woodland, with plenty of paths to while away a couple of hours. The house has an impressive garden and fabulous views of the surrounding countryside, too. Take in the sights at slightly higher speed by joining in the free 10km run around the grounds on the fourth Sunday of every month.

Open from 11 February for the rest of the year (excluding 24-26 December).

Whittle Dene Woods, Northumberland

Just off the Hadrian’s Wall path, this 48-acre wood is well worth a visit for its magnificent springtime flower display. You’ll also spot the relics of a water-driven flour mill, harking back to the site’s industrial past. Legend has it this ancient woodland is home to fairies, as well as (more commonly seen) ottors, kestrels, bats and owls.

Open all year round.

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