Fairy Flowers | Walking in Bluebell Woods

Fairy Flowers | Walking in Bluebell Woods

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.

– ‘The Bluebell’, Emily Bronte

 Last weekend, my mum and I took Clover along to see the Bluebells at Dockey Wood, Ashridge Park. As soon as April began, I was eager to get out and see them as I didn’t want to miss the chance of seeing them in all their glory. Sadly, they do not stick around for long. If you want to see them and haven’t yet done so, what are you waiting for you? Go! Bluebells only last from mid- April until May, and it is all about timing. We were lucky enough to visit when the Bluebells were at their peak. However peak times can vary depending on location and weather conditions wherever they are in the country.

We went on a late Sunday afternoon and it was very busy. So many people had ventured out in large and small groups to marvel at the Bluebells beauty. There were cameras everywhere, and some families were even having professional photo shoots, dressed in their finest spring wear. It was so lovely to see people get outside, enjoying nature and appreciating these beautiful, rare little wild flowers. Although, being busy also meant you were constantly in someone’s way, or having to wait for someone to take a photo. Sometimes you just want to stop for a moment, to be mindful of your surroundings and take it all in.

As we stepped out of the car across the road from Dockey Wood, we were instantly drawn to the sea of violet-blue; so bold and awe worthy. Rays of sunlight were streaming in through the branches and the whole place looked like an enchanted forest. The trees themselves were just starting to leaf-out, displaying a wonderful light, yellowy coloured green, and against the dark bark and the vibrant bluebells, it added to the magical qualities of the woodland. Not only that, but the bluebells had such a fragrant scent that I just wanted to bottle it and wear it forever.

Bluebells are usually found in ancient, broad-leaved woodlands and because of this, they are full of magic. In folklore, bluebells were known as ‘fairy flowers’ as fields of bluebells were supposedly woven with fairy enchantments. If one was to walk through a carpet of bluebells, the bluebells were believed to release disturbing spells and was considered as bad luck. It is hard to believe that a place so tranquil and breath taking was once a place of danger. I have to admit that I love the idea of the bluebells summoning fairies. There is something very A Midsummer Night’s Dream about it all, giving bluebell woods mystery and charm.

One of the things that I love most about woodlands and forest alike, is that you almost forget what year it is. When you are standing surrounded by nature that is wild and untouched, you can imagine how it would have possibly looked a hundred or more years ago. There is no concept of time, other than the sun moving across the sky, and day turning to night.

A place so picturesque and romantic, you can only imagine how many photos I took, but nothing beats experiencing a place for yourself. Even the most skilled photographers are unable to appeal to all senses. Also, trying to take photos whilst holding the lead of your dog is near to impossible. Or maybe it is just Clover who pulls in opposite directions as to where you actually want to go.

It is also extremely important to not stand on the bluebells. Upon entering Dockey Wood, we were told by members working for the National Trust to keep to the designated paths. Over the years, the bulbs of the bluebells have been damaged due to the weight of footfall. They are also very fragile and are sensitive to being trodden on. This then leads to patches of bluebells here and there, rather than the vast carpet of violet-blue we all associate with bluebell woods. The National Trust are taking measures in order to preserve these quintessentially British beauties, especially as half of the bluebells population are found in the UK. The native English bluebell is also under threat of the more robust Spanish bluebell, so choose wisely when deciding to plant bluebells in your gardens.

6 EXTRA FACTS ABOUT BLUEBELLS 

  • It is against the law to pick bluebells or destroy them.
  • Bluebells take a particularly long time to grow and colonise, taking between 5-7 years before flowering.
  • Similar to above, when bluebells are damaged, they can take years to recover.
  • Bluebells are poisonous.
  • Bluebells are important to bees and butterflies who feed on the nectar.
  • Bluebells were voted England’s most loved flower.
  • Emily Bronte wrote a poem called ‘The Bluebell’ {some of which is quoted above}

{Unlike the Spanish Bluebells, the native ones have a drooping shape to them, a narrow bell shape with curled tips and most of the flowers are on one side of the stem. So pretty}

{Poor Clover must get so fed up with us wanting to take pictures of her/with her}

Love Georgie 

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