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Bluebell walks with the National Trust

( 02 May 2019 )

In late April and early May, many National Trust woodlands undergo a dramatic transformation as bluebells flower and flourish beneath the fresh green leaves, here are some of the best

Bluebell woods
Head for a National Trust property for a beautiful bluebell walk

This carpet of blue creates one of nature’s finest displays and National Trust properties across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are among the best places to savour this welcome sight of spring.

Ray Hawes, Head of Forestry at the National Trust, said: “There’s something magical about a walk in the woods when the bluebells are in full bloom and the place is teeming with life. It’s a sure sign that woods are coming alive with the sights and sounds of spring time and it’s a perfect opportunity to get closer to nature.”

So why not get out and celebrate the arrival of spring whilst the flowers are in full bloom with a beautiful bluebell walk, including:

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge in Northumberland - the largest area of ancient woodland in Northumberland, in spring Allen Banks comes alive with the fresh growth of wild flowers. Explore the woods and discover the carpet of bluebells and wild garlic (ramsons) covering the woodland floor in late spring. For more information contact 01434 344218 or click here.

Ashridge in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire - enjoy carpets of bluebells through the spring in this extensive countryside estate. The 1.5-mile waymarked woodland trail has a stunning display of bluebells beneath the bright-green beech canopy. For further information contact 01442 851227 or click here.

Attingham Park in Shropshire - the best display of bluebells can be found in Rookery Wood, near the main entrance to the estate and on the way to the heart of the property. For further information contact 01743 708162 or click here.

Blakes Wood in Essex - this 106-acre ancient woodland bursts into colour in spring with carpets of bluebells, primroses and yellow archangel along the woodland floor. Bring your binoculars and see if you can spot a nightingale or hawfinch. For more information contact 01245 222 669 or click here.

Blickling Estate in Norfolk - visit Blickling in April through to May and discover one of the best places to see bluebells in the country. Follow the winding paths through the great wood, and pass through swathes of dainty English bluebells. The 5-mile waymarked estate walk will take you through the Great Wood and if you wander from the path you’ll come across a wonderful display of Bluebells. For further information contact 01263 738030 or click here.

Calke Park and Abbey in Derbyshire - with secret walks and 600 acres of parkland, much of it a National Nature Reserve, Calke is home to some of the oldest trees in Europe. Among this ancient woodland, bluebells flower in abundance dotted with the yellow flowers of archangels in the Serpentine Wood. For more information contact 01332 863822 or click here.

Chirk Castle in Wrexham - immerse yourself in a medieval world at this impressive Welsh castle, or escape to the tranquil gardens and woodland and find Berkshire pigs, ancient trees and wonderful bluebell woods during the spring months. For further details contact 01691 777701 or click here.

Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire - with 1,537 hectares (3,800 acres) of picturesque parkland and gardens, peaceful woodlands and a magnificent lake, there is plenty of space to explore and relax in at Clumber Park, including the bluebell woodlands throughout the spring months. For further information please contact 01909 544917 or click here.

Dinefwr in Carmarthenshire - there are several waymarked walks throughout the parkland and wooded estate: take in the stunning bluebell displays and ancient trees at this special place. For further information contact 01558 823902 or click here.

Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House in County Londonderry - the striking 18th century mansion at Downhill now lies in ruin but the offering of beautiful gardens, with wonderful flowers of the season, and magnificent cliff top walks, affording rugged headland views across Ireland's North Coast, makes this is a fantastic place for families to visit. For further details contact 028 7084 8728 or click here.

Hardcastle Crags in Yorkshire - is a wooded valley near Hebden Bridge, often known as ‘Little Switzerland’ because of the valley sides, pathways and river flowing through. In spring the woodland is awash with carpets of bluebells – a truly stunning sight . A 3-mile circular walk is an ideal way to see a mass of bluebells in the spring. The route also takes in Gibson Mill, the flagship National Trust hands on environmental property, complete with walkers’ caf. For further information contact 01422 844518 or click here.

Lamberts Castle in West Dorset - a hidden gem! Roam free over this ancient hill fort while discovering naturalised bluebell drifts - a photographers dream. Guided bluebell walks take place in April. For further information contact 01297 561 900 or click here.

Lanhydrock in Cornwall - this fascinating country house and estate boasts delightful gardens, including a fabulous collection of spring-flowering magnolias and woodland areas blooming with waves of daffodils and bluebells. At the start of the 1.5-mile Great Wood and Avenue Walk you’ll come across the bluebell wood, famed for its carpet of colour in the spring. For further information contact 01208 265950 or click here.

Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland - the main drive and Lake Walk are the best places to see the bluebells in bloom. For further information contact 028 4278 8387 or click here.

Nymans in West Sussex - inspired by the setting and the soil, the unusually creative Messel family bought the Nymans estate to life in the late 19th century by creating one of the country’s great gardens. A garden lovers’ house, the garden and nearby woods are perfect for walking, picnicking and spotting all kinds of flowers. For further information contact 01444 405250 or click here.

Sissinghurst Castle in Kent - a ruin of an Elizabethan manor house, Sissinghurst Castle and estate is a perfect place for wildlife spotting and walking through the woods, a great way of seeing the bluebells and wildflowers. For further information contact 01580 710700 or click here.

Speke Hall in Merseyside - a perfect oasis of peace and quiet within easy reach of Liverpool, Speke provides stunning views of the surrounding area, beautifully restored gardens, and in spring wonderful woodland walks through delightful bluebells. Take a wander through the estate to Stocktons Wood where you’ll see a fantastic display of bluebells; keep going to be rewarded with great views of the Mersey estuary. For further information contact 08457 585702 or click here.

Stourhead in Wiltshire - a living work of art’ is how a magazine described Stourhead when it first opened in the 1740s. The garden and house are at the heart of a 1,072-hectare (2,650-acre) estate, where ancient woods are managed for wildlife and a perfect place to spot the glorious bluebells flowering in spring. For further information contact 01747 841152 or click here.

Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey - buried amid the gorgeous collection of trees and shrubs is the old English bluebell wood, which slopes down to the lake beneath a canopy of oak and Japanese maple. All paths are hard-surfaced for wheelchairs and buggies. For further information contact 01483 208477 or click here.

Many of these walks have self-guided leaflets, usually available from the shops at the properties or by contacting the property direct.

Every May the Tree Council organises a 'Walk in the Woods' festival which encourages people to celebrate and enjoy trees and woods. More information about events in towns and countryside across the UK can be found at

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.