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Blue bell walk in the Cotwolds

Hi all, has anyone been on a Bluebell walk in the Cotswolds? If so, where did you go and tell us a bit about it. I have seen photos and last time we were there we did not get to do one. We will be staying in Milton-Under-Wychwood this may and would really love to do one. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
33113 posts

I've walked in several bluebell woods, in the Cotswolds among others,, but I can't say exactly where.

In bluebell season a brief googling will yield multiple results, I'm sure.

Some are at National Trust properties and once you have paid you can include that as part of your visit, some are in private woods and are open for charity contributions, some you can just visit.

Bluebells like shade and dappled sun so you won't see them in a meadow.

While most are blue, there are pink bluebells and white bluebells, too. It is beautiful to be walking through a wood and see an absolute carpet of them.

In most cases you drive up, park up, pay your £2 or £5 or whatever, are given a map ( or find one in the paper), and let loose on the paths in the wood.

We'd count on 60 or 90 minutes then head somewhere for a warm drink...

BTW - weather is weird and things are happening at the wrong times.

I saw my first daffodil this year three days after Christmas - that's a bit early, and my first snowdrops two weeks ago which is almost late.

In my garden my tulips are nearly up. That's way early.

But we are now in the midst of a European freeze up.

Who knows. Moral? Check first...

Posted by
8293 posts

Must the bluebells be in the Cotswolds? If you can make your way to Hertfordshire there are a couple of them. I googled to find the one relatives took us to a couple of years ago and I think it was the one south of Hichin, on route B651 starting at the car park. It was an astonishing sight, quite breathtaking. Google bluebell woods Hertfordshire for several others.

Posted by
8889 posts

Wayhay! My home town gets a mention (Hitchin), first time in this forum! As kids we used to pick bunches and take them home. Totally forbidden now, they are a protected species.
Seriously, the bluebell season is a few weeks in the spring. It can be earlier or later in different years, you just have to be lucky.

I have read, that the reason that bluebells are peculiar to Britain is the last Ice Age. As the Ice Age ended, the various plant species migrated north. Bluebells were the only species in their niche that managed to reach Britain before the rising sea level flooded the English Channel and cut them off. They flower in woods, in the spring in the few weeks before the growth of leaves on the trees cuts off the sunlight. In continental Europe there are many flower species which exploit this niche, In Britain, only one, so there are these unique blue carpets of flowers in woodlands.

Posted by
3392 posts

Rannerdale, in the Lake District, has a stunning bluebell field in an amazing setting...if you are not opposed to a location other than the Costswolds.

Posted by
2445 posts

You will probably find Bluebells in flower in the Cotswolds during the last 2 weeks of April and first week of May. From mid May, you are probably going to find that they have finished flowering unless spring is very cold making everything late. They can be found in many deciduous woods so just find woods with a path!

Posted by
2023 posts

You could include a visit to Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury. With six hundred acres it seems like there would be a good chance of finding Bluebells in bloom.

Posted by
5837 posts

Haven't walked the Cotswolds but James' timing of ...Cotswolds during the last 2 weeks of April and first week of May.... seems about right.

We encountered bluebells on leaving the Lake District May 13, 2006 in a wooded area of Burnbank below the Haweswater dam. We encountered more blubells further east near Glaisdale on May 23 if I recall correctly. I don't know if 2006 was average, but our walk was in northern England. Mid to late May north, earlier south.

Correction: Second bluebell sighting was in Claim Wood on the Cleveland Way between Ingleby Cross and Live Moor, not near Glaisdale on May 21st.

Posted by
44 posts

Thanks to all who answered. Great info. The reason we said the Cotswolds is because we are staying there and the last time we were there we found so much to be done that we never ventured far and were planning on doing the same thing this time. It's so nice to not have to drive far and to be able to hike, visit gardens or just hang out in some small town without the concern over a long drive home.

Posted by
70 posts

The Cotswolds don't really have the wide-spaced, tall, broad-canopy deciduous woods bluebells like and I've not heard of anything there in terms of wild-growth bluebell stands of any size, but Westonbirt would be your best bet as being managed woodland it does apparently have areas that produce large-ish bluebell glades. No idea how long the peak is there though - I don't need to drive far to get to some of the best woods and bluebells are so ubiquitous up here in the Chilterns they're practically a weed. I've dozens of wild-seeded corms in my back garden in the shade of the fence that come up each April (some wild snowdrops too - they're just coming into flower now). Gives me a good excuse to put off mowing until mid-May :)

However, you're only a short sprint across Oxfordshire from Cowleaze - and it's only a mile or two further away from your base than Westonbirt anyway. I took a camera over last April - the peak was early last year and were already starting to go, so there's less blue and more green than I'd like, plus it was tipping down and overcast which kept throwing the focus off so the pics are not great, but you can get an idea of if it's worth the drive:

Posted by
44 posts

Hey all, thank you so much for the suggestions and information. My husband Jean-Paul just found a wonderful bluebell walk just a half mile from where we will be staying so if anyone else is in that area, check it out. It is called Foxhole, in the Wychwood Forest. Turns out it is only a half mile from the cottage we will be renting in Milton under Wychwood so how great is that? It still remains to be seen as to whether the bluebells will still be out when we arrive on May 12th. Wish us luck!!