April 19, 2013
Spring has sprung. Finally the snow and miserable subzero temperatures of recent months have left us for another year and the first warming rays of sun emerged from behind the grey, overcast sky. Or at least that’s how it feels, and long may it last.
Spring is a time to reacquaint yourself with the glorious outdoors, particularly the wonderful British countryside as it bursts into colour with the vitality only new life can inspire.
And to help you uncover some new favourite places, we are listing the UK’s top bluebell walks as recommended by Country Life magazine.
In no particular order, they are:
Arlington Bluebell Walk & Farm Trail
Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trail offers eight different walks over three working farms. Perfect for families, there are pens of sheep, pigs and angora goats alongside a tranquil woodland stroll. Visit www.bluebellwalk.co.ukfor more information.
Ashridge Estate, Buckinghamshire
A short 1.5mile woodland trail with stunning clusters of bluebells and a huge variety of wildlife. Ranger-led walks are also on offer on which you can find out more about the fascinating history.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Renowned as one of the best places to see bluebells in England, Blickling offers winding paths through woodland and swathes of magnificent bluebells. There are also seven holiday cottages on the estate should you want to make a weekend of it. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estateto find out more.
Bunny Old Wood, Nottinghamshire
This woodland was mentioned in the Domesday Book and is home to an abundance of bluebells and huge variety of flora that visitors are free to admire. There have been 50 bird species recorded in Bunny Old Wood and more 20 species of butterfly. Go to www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org for more details.
Carnmoney Hill, Newtownabbey
Carnmoney Hill is a great landmark overlooking Belfast that is steeped in folklore and offering great views of the city. Walkers can enjoy a range of flowers as well as the striking bluebell displays. Interestingly, two underground tunnels have been found on the hill that are believed to be escape routes built under the threat of Vikings and other raiders. Go to www.woodlandtrust.org.ukfor more.
Chirk Castle, Wrexham
Step back in time to this impressive medieval fortress and enjoy tranquil gardens, ancient trees and beautiful bluebell woods alongside the historical dungeons, Long Gallery and servants' hall. Find out more at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle.
Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle, Clumber Park is ideal for an escape with its magnificent lake, tranquil gardens and the lovely woodlands that come spring are covered in breathtaking bluebells. The Gothic-style chapel is also available to explore. For mreo details go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumber-park.
Coed Cefn, Abergavenny
Set on a hilltop, this woodland dominated by bluebells in the spring has a circular footpath that is enjoyed by plenty of visitors and popular with dog-walkers. Go to
www.woodlandtrust.org.ukfor more information.
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, County Londonderry
Despite the 18th Century mansion of the Earl Bishop lying in ruin, the beautiful gardens are full of life especially in spring when the bluebell carpets provide a contrast to the magnificent cliff top walks. More details are available at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/downhill-demesne-and-hezlett-house.
Glen Finglas, Trossachs
The beauty of Glen Finglas has been admired for centuries and garnered fans that included Pre-Raphaelite painters and writers. With a huge range of walks to suit any all ages and fitness levels, Glen Finglas attracts visitors with its enchanting bluebells and spectacular views. For more details go to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk.
Hardcastle Crags, West Yorkshire
With more than 400 acres of unspoilt woodland, this beauty spot is home to tumbling streams, waterfalls and a spring spell of bluebells. On the 12th May join their guide for a two mile walk and discover ecology and folklore of the local flora. Find out more at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardcastle-crags.
This magnificent country house is accompanied by a wooded estate and elegant gardens that are awash with daffodils and bluebells. For more information go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock.
Nymans, West Sussex
These gardens provide the perfect spot for an afternoon walk and picnic with several varieties of flowers. Bluebells can be seen on the woodland walks from 27 April to 3rd May. For more details go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans.
Sissinghurst Castle, Kent
Made famous in the 1930s when Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson created a magically colourful garden, Sissinghurst Castle is a great spot for enjoying wildflowers of the season and wildlife spotting. A Bluebell and Wildflower Walk is led by Rangers from 26th to 28th April and 3rd to 5th May. For more visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle.
Speke Hall, Garden and Estate, Liverpool
Speke Hall is a Tudor timber-framed manor house set on the River Mersey that was restored in the 19th century and now offers delightful gardens as well as the incredible views. The woodland walks ensure idyllic carpets of bluebells. For more information go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/speke-hall.
Explore the 2,650 acres of the Stourhead estate which, when first opened in the 1740s, was described by one magazine as ‘a living work of art'. Plenty of wildlife roams the ancient woods and glorious bluebells steal the show come spring. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourheadfor more details.
Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey
The hillside arboretum includes more than 1,000 different shrubs and trees and, although delightful for a stroll at any time of the year, has a pleasant array of bluebells, magnolias and azaleas in spring. For more information go to
Wood of Cree, Newton Stewart
This woodland is full of life in spring with vast scattering of bluebells and a perfect place to spot barn and tawny owls, garden warblers and willow tits. Well worth a visit as the largest ancient wood in southern Scotland, the Wood of Cree even has an otter platform that looks out onto the river. For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk.
If you do go on any of these walks, why not send us your pictures and we'll post them on here? Simply send your Spring walk photos to email@example.com