After some profound experiences in Japan on my cherry blossom hunt, I’ve been having an equally gorgeous time wandering about in English woods enjoying the bluebells this spring.
My dad found a perfect spot for bluebell spotting earlier in the year in Parnholt Wood near Farley Mount, and I’ve been back a few times. The trees there are pretty much all beech, with bright green new leaves contrasting beautifully with the magical carpet of the bluebells underneath.
I think it’s the effect of the profusion of one type of flower in such large numbers that makes the blossom and the bluebells similarly moving. The impact of the colours and the scent on my senses is almost overwhelming. I feel transported by it, and in the bluebell wood my mind is immediately filled with images of fairies having wild parties at dawn or Guinevere and Lancelot meeting for a tryst under a beech tree… the perfect setting for the mythical and magical.
I realised last year while reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane that one of my favourite nature writers is Neil Gaiman – his love of the English landscape and wildlife is imbued with a touch of the fantastical, and it resonates with how I feel when I’m out and about exploring. I wouldn’t be surprised to come across a nymph enjoying a cool Hampshire woodland pool or a mermaid sunning herself amongst the seals on the Cornish coast…
But my rapturous words, photos and sketches simply can’t do justice to the beauty of the woods. Bluebell season is just starting to come to an end here in Hampshire now, but the colours are still vibrant enough to make a trip worthwhile. The National Trust has a useful website to help find your nearest bluebells here.
There is more information about the difference between the English and Spanish bluebell on the PlantLife website here. If you are adding this lovely flower to your garden or land, it is recommended that you source the English variety to help boost the population and stop the spread of the Spanish variety to local woodlands.
Up close, the flowers are also gorgeous. If I was a fairy, I would definitely wear one as a hat…
Tags: bluebells, england, fairies, magic, may queen, nature, neil gaiman, wildlife, woodland