Camping among the bluebells
Why wouldn’t you want to go camping among bluebells? According to a poll by Plantlife in 2015, the nation’s favourite wild flower is the bluebell. Flowering from April to June, bluebells spring up in woodlands across England and the bluebell woodlands where our campsites are situated are no exception.
Best time for camping with Bluebells
Bluebells are bulbous perennials which means for much of the year their bulbs are lying dormant under the soil but in spring, they begin to stir with green shoots pushing their way up to the surface from March onwards. Bluebells make the most of the sunlight reaching the woodland floor before other taller plants and trees can blossom in April and May, weather depending of course. They particularly like areas of high humidity.
Native bluebells are an ancient woodland indicator species – one of the species that experts look for when trying to determine the age of a woodland. An ancient woodland is one that has been present since 1600AD. You can identify a native bluebell by studying the plant. A native bluebell (or hyacinthoides non-scripta) has a leafless stem that grows to between 20 and 50cm tall. It nods to the side when in flower and can accommodate up to 20 flowers. As the name suggests the flowers look like blue or violet bells, made up of six petals. The petals upturned tips give it its bell shapes. Occasionally flowers can be white and, rarely pink, in colour. The leaves grow around the stems and are straight sided.
You can also find Spanish bluebells growing in this country. These have spread from private collections in gardens and represent a threat to the native bluebell population as cross-pollination results in a hybrid version. The Spanish bluebell has a stiffer and more upright stem with flowers which are more bell-shaped and broader leaves. Another way to tell native from non-native bluebells is to look inside the flower at the pollen. Native bluebells have pollen that is creamy white, while the pollen of the Spanish bluebell is blue or green.
The Woodland Trust is keen to record sightings of flora and fauna in its Nature’s Calendar and you can record bluebell sightings to help with their research which monitors the effects of climate change and other environmental factors.
Camping in Bluebells
Both Wild Boar Wood Campsite and the woodland at Beech Estate Campsite are great places to come camping among bluebells. In springtime they are carpeted with these well-loved flowers. In addition to the bluebells in our own woodlands you will be able to get out and visit other woodlands in the areas around our campsites to see more carpets of blue. Two National Trust gardens close to Wild Boar Wood are recommended by the trust as some of the best places to see bluebells in flower: Sheffield Park and Nymans.
“The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care”
Extract from Emily Bronte’s The Bluebell
More information about our campsites