The UK is home to more than half of the world’s population of bluebells and more than one million bulbs can be found in just one wood. Their presence is an indication that you are walking within an ancient woodland where many generations of bluebells have thrived.
Bluebells are a very delicate plant and are easily damaged, especially if they’re trodden on. Damage can prevent the leaves from photosynthesizing, causing the plant to die back. Bluebells take between five and seven years to establish, so even minor damage can have a long-lasting impact. Essex Wildlife Trust are encouraging people to stick to marked pathways and be mindful of where they tread to ensure the spectacle can continue for many generations to come.
Essex Wildlife Trust protect a number of nature reserves that provide a perfect habitat for this fragile flower, allowing the bluebells to slowly spread over many years to form spawling lilac and blue carpets winding amongst the trees. Now is the best time to carefully enjoy this spring spectacle, while the bluebells are at their most vibrant.
Here are a few of Essex Wildlife Trust’s best nature reserves for bluebell displays this May:
Pound Wood in Thundersley
One of the largest remaining areas of ancient woodland in South East Essex, this nature reserve is an important part of the Daws Heath Living Landscape. Essex Wildlife Trust manage the reserve for wildlife and it offers wonderful displays of bluebells. Walk between the adjacent Tile Wood and Little Haven nature reserves and then pop into the nearby Belfairs Nature Discovery Centre for tea and cake. Open from 10am-5pm, seven days a week.
Hanningfield Reservoir Nature Discovery Park in Billericay
Have a day out with the family where you can follow The Wind in the Willows trail through the woodland whilst admiring the wonderful display of bluebells. Then visit the Nature Discovery Centre where you can enjoy panoramic views of the reservoir. Open from 10am-5pm, seven days a week.
Shut Heath Wood in Great Totham
Enjoy some peace and relaxation at this quiet nature reserve located just below the crest of the Great Totham Ridge. The woodland is entirely carpeted in bluebells and other spring flowers such as Cuckoo flower, primrose, dog violet and bugle.
Bedfords Park Nature Discovery Centre in Havering-atte-Bower
Look out over the hustle and bustle of London whilst walking through the peaceful woodlands where large numbers of bluebells can be found. Afterwards, enjoy a well-deserved rest and a spot of lunch in the nearby Nature Discovery Centre. Open five days a week (closed Tuesdays and Thursdays), 10am-5pm.