Some of the most beautiful sights in April or May in the UK (depending on the weather!) are bluebell woods. The UK is a stronghold for the world’s bluebells. More than a quarter of the planet’s bluebells are brightening up woodlands in the UK. Ploughman Wood is just one of the many, many places you can see them.
I remember going for walks in bluebell woods with my Granddad when we were little, and being absolutely sure that fairies must live in woods that look like that! On really good years, bluebell woods make it looks like they are covered in a sweet-smelling, purple carpet. It is just perfect. Yeears ago, when Marc and I first started dating, we explored the lovely Ploughman Wood Nature reserve with his whole family. It was one of my favourite memories in Nottingham, so last week when we found ourselves in Nottingham in time for bluebells, I was keen to go back!
Walking in Ploughman Wood
If you live anywhere near Nottingham and you like bluebells, you really should visit Ploughman Wood in the springtime.
How to get there? The woods are close to Woodbough, so you can walk from there. Or, if you are driving, pop NG14 6DY into your satnav to find a good place to park, on the corner of Green Lane.
Facilities: There are lots of pathways around the woods, but not much else! Don’t expect toilets or a cafe!
Is it an easy walk? Yes! The whole area in perched on top of a ridge, but walking through the woods was all very flat.
Can you bring dogs? Yes! And they will love it.
We parked our car and wandered down the easy to follow farm track towards the woods. The bushes and verges are already full of spring flowers, so it’s a pleasant walk even before you get to Ploughman Wood. While we were there a teeny aeroplane landed in the field as we wandered past!
Once you arrive at Ploughman Wood. You don’t have to wait long to see bluebells! They are sooo pretty!
The bad thing about bluebells is they are so blooming delicate, it can be really hard to get your camera to focus on them. They almost never look as good in photos as they do in real life. I spent a lot of time running to catch up with everyone after I’d spent too long attempting to capture this prettiness to share with you all.
Find your own route
Even the parts of Ploughman Wood that are not covered in bluebells are gorgeous. I have only visited here on sunny spring days, but the way the sunlight shines through the trees is just lovely!
We normally follow various paths through the center of the wood to see bluebells, and then take one of the paths around the edge to wind our way back to the car. If you try this, it doesn’t really matter which route you take. They are all pretty!
There were plenty of other flowers in bloom as well as the bluebells. We found one area where forget-me-nots were attempting to out-blue the bluebells! There are always plenty of bright yellow dandelions brightening up the paths too.
Some areas of Ploughman wood were covered in a mix of white, daisy-like flowers smattered in with the bluebells. I am not sure what they were, but I love the look of them.
This is the last teeny patch of bluebells I saw as we left Ploughman Wood. I love the way the light streams through them.
Once you get to the edge of Ploughman Wood, if you peek through the hedges, there are lovely views of the surrounding countryside down to Woodborough.
English Bluebells vs Spanish Bluebells
Some people can be a little snobby about imported bluebells (and most of us don’t really know the difference!) There are two main kinds of bluebells in the UK.
The native bluebells (on the left) are a little more delicate and their stems curve around to make them look like they are drooping. If you look closely, each petal curves back onto itself too. The thing I love best about the English bluebells is their delicate smell.
The Spanish versions (on the right) were imported as garden flowers. They have straight stems and each bell is a little wider. I think they are really pretty, especially as they often seem to mutate into pink and white versions. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have the same sweet smell.
To complicate things further, there are lots of hybrid species that are half way between the two. I saw a post from a wildlife trust that said you shouldn’t plant Spanish bluebells in your garden as they easily crossbreed with the native varieties, so the native bluebells are starting to die out. Anyway, I found a good guide to help show the difference between the two types of bluebells here. Take a peek if you are interested.
This doesn’t really fit into the rest of my post, but after our walk, as the weather was sooo lovely, we relaxed drinking tea in the garden while watching Elsa (the pretty English Setter in the photos above) flip out when squirrels visited the garden. I sat for a while with my large camera lens out, waiting for this ninja squirrel. She was really fast and sneaky, and quite good at grabbing a nut (or three) before Elsa saw her! She is so cute I thought I should share her photos.
Other Bluebell walks
If you like the idea of walking through bluebell woods, please check out these other posts. last year we had a whole month of exploring bluebell woods along the North Downs Way.
- Otford to Cuxton – This is near Rochester and has woodlands filled with bluebells and wood anemones that are like little stars.
- Cuxton to Detling – This has a few amaaazing woods, but the best was Boxley Wood. I took way too many photos.
- Detling to Lenham – This walk was great for wide open vistas looking down from the North Downs Way, but there were loads of lovely bluebells as well.
- Lenham to Wye – This walk went past plenty of bright yellow canola fields between each bluebell wood.
- Wye to Etchinghill I remember this walk mostly for all the wild garlic flowers mixed in with the bluebells. It made the woods smell like a roast dinner!
Where do you walk?
I hope those of you in the UK managed to get out into the countryside to see the bluebells this year! Where are your favourite bluebells spots!? Or for my blogging friends in the rest of the world, what kind of flowers do you like to see when you explore near home?