It’s Bluebell Time in The New Forest
That explosion of vivid green and ultramarine blue on the forest floor, stretching under the beech trees as far as the eye can see. That delicate, unmistakeable scent, hanging in the air.
Of all the spring sights the New Forest has to offer, our bluebells are one of the most magnificent. Why? Because native bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) love nothing more than to grow in an ancient woodland – and the New Forest has the highest proportion of ancient woodland in the British Isles.
That said, our iconic free-roaming ponies and cattle as well as the native deer take their toll on our bluebells – but the drifts protected from the assault are truly spectacular – and our wildlife of course is a spectacle in itself.
Bluebells flower before the trees are in full leaf so they can complete their lifecycle while the light is high. Many consider their appearance as the beginnings of summer. They’ve inspired great artists, including the potter William de Morgan, and our greatest writers; Emily Bronte described them as: ‘The sweetest flower that waves in summer air,’ whereas Alfred, Lord Tennyson found them to be: ‘Like the sky, the blue sky, breaking up through the earth.’
So where’s the best place to see our bluebells on foot, on two wheels or in the car?
Two of the best New Forest bluebell woods are the Broomy Inclosure, north of Linwood, and the Pondhead Inclosure, near Lyndhurst. Sandleheath, near Fordingbridge, has a network of public footpaths and bridleways bordered by primroses and bluebells.
Roydon Woods near Brockenhurst is owned by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. It’s a patchwork of ancient woodland, pastures, heaths and the Lymington River – and a haven for a sea of bluebells.
Exbury Gardens is particularly stunning at this time of year. Take a drive to the home of the world-renowned Rothschild collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. But make it the Summer Lane approach – a two-mile drive alive with a vibrant haze of bluebell drifts.
The Forestry Commission’s cycle tracks are a great way to see bluebells with the route between New Park, Brockenhurst and Bank especially recommended.
Or arrange your own private bluebells viewing by booking a stay at The Little Granary at West Park Farm, near Fordingbridge. The working farm, which visitors are welcome to explore, has its own bluebell wood. If you stay at Pippins Cottage or Wren Cottage at The Stables, near Lymington, just walk along the footpath and bridleway The King’s Highway to enjoy views across the Avon Water valley and take in the bluebells across the farmland and woodland.
To get you started, The New Forest visitor website features a Bluebells Trail.
Enjoy a romantic stay in one of our luxury hotels or take the children on a bluebell adventure with a break at one of our holiday parks, family-friendly hotels or B&Bs. There’s plenty featured at www.thenewforest.co.uk.
- They can have up to 20 blooms per stalk
- Each flower has six petals
- Bluebell pollen is actually cream in colour
- Bluebell bulbs were crushed to provide starch for the ruffs of Elizabethan sleeves and collars
- It is unlawful to uproot wild bluebells.
Louise Neville, Polymedia, 01329 822866
For further information contact:
Anthony Climpson, NFTA, 023 8028 5588
For more information, visit www.thenewforest.co.uk
For further information or pictures please contact Polymedia, firstname.lastname@example.org