Bluebell woods

Bluebell woods at Ripley, North Yorkshire

I was ticked off this week by a Laroque friend in an email conversation.  I’d been waxing lyrical about the woods here in the UK which are starting to be carpeted in that rich blue which indicates that bluebells are in flower.  She pointed out, rightly, that she has a clump in her own garden.  I can’t deny it of course.  But I’m still delighted to have been in England long enough to catch this very special sight of bluebells flowering in such profusion that the whole woodland floor becomes an almost violet-blue which no camera ever seems able to capture accurately.

Bluebells near Ripley
There was room for a few cowslips too

Their presence apparently is a sign of ancient woodland.  Adapted to this territory, the young shoots are good at piercing thick leaf mould before the deciduous leaves of the woodland canopy close in late spring.  They’re native to Atlantic Europe: apparently somewhere between 25 – 50 % of all common bluebells are found here in the UK.  That’s an astonishing statistic for our small island, since the bluebell can be found in so many other parts of Europe, and has been introduced to many parts of the United States as well.

It’s a shame it’s turned rainy and a bit cold.  We need the rain, and lots of it.  But there’s something very special about a walk in the woods at this time of year, with the mild sunshine penetrating through the newly-leaved branches to reveal the bluebells as they march unhindered as far as the eye can see.

An image sent to the BBC 'PM' programme last year during bluebell season

6 thoughts on “Bluebell woods”

  1. The flowering of bluebells in such a profusion is amazing! I sometimes read again “The Daffodils” the lovely poem by W.Wordsworth I learnt when I was younger. Is there a poem about bluebells?
    In our gardens the bright yellow flowers are now withered -replaced by tulips and wonderful blue irises as you may have seen in Van Gogh paintings.
    But we are very sad here because Sybil Whish you met in MJC fell suddenly seriously ill and after 18 days in Chiva hospital died a few days ago (pancreas cancer).
    Here it’s raining a lot every afternoon!
    Wishing you enjoy your stay in Ripon I kiss you. Noëlle

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  2. I love bluebells. There was a field below the Malvern Hills which was just a cloud of blue, so beautiful and so evocative of England in spring. By the way, it is so cold here we still have daffodils coming out!

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