“The sight of a hazy violet-blue carpet of flowers resplendent in the dappled sunshine on a woodland floor is one of the great wonders of nature at this time of year,” said Rob Davies, the Trust’s Woodlands Officer.
“The common wild bluebell thrives in heavy clay soils, which are often associated with ancient woodlands of oak, beech and hornbeam. And many of the Trust’s own sites host some of the county’s best bluebell woods.”
The native British bluebell has dark blue flowers, which hang down on one side of a drooping stem, shaped like a shepherd’s crook. They start to bloom in mid-April and when in abundance, the flowers give off a delicate honey-like scent.
Here are the Trust’s top five bluebell woods:
A fragment of the old Saxon wooded commons that once covered much of southern England. As well as a stunning display of bluebells, there’s also a beautiful woodland pond.
A small woodland known for its fine displays of spring flowers – including bluebells and starry white clusters of wild garlic flowers.
A steep walk through ancient woodland to the top of the hill rewards visitors with fine views and beautiful displays of bluebells along the way.
A mosaic of ancient and recent woodlands and open grassland. Look out for bluebells in the trees and stunning displays of cowslips in the meadows later in the season.
Bluebells thrive in this ancient coppiced hazel woodland. There’s a stream running through the site, which also has a small pool and is surrounded by pasture.
Any bluebells you find in your garden are likely to be of the Spanish/Hybrid variety, which have paler blue flowers, which sprout at all angles from a stouter, more upright stem. Fertile hybrids between the Spanish and the native species are now spreading through the wild.
“Conservationists are working to stop the spread of the intruders and we can all do our bit by buying only native bluebells for the garden and not dumping garden waste in the countryside,” added Rob.
“Don't forget our native bluebells are a protected species under UK law, which means it’s illegal to dig up the plants or bulbs or to offer them for sale.”
The Trust’s private educational nature reserve at Nower Wood near Leatherhead boasts stunning carpets of bluebells in spring. Why not come along to our open day on Sunday April 22 - there will be lots of free family activities including minibeast hunting, pond dipping and marshmallow toasting. There’s a £5 charge for parking - book your place at surreywildlifetrust.org.
Or why not head out to explore a bluebell wood near you - just remember to take your camera!