It is that magical time of year again when the iridescent colour of blue starts emerging and we know that Spring has most definitely arrived. Famed for being Britain’s favourite wild flower, almost 50% of the worlds bluebells can be found in the UK.
A member of the lily family, the bluebell is usually an indicator of ancient woodland where they grow to become a beautiful carpet of blue. The bluebell is a protected species but it is also being studied for its medicinal qualities. The plant contacts water-soluble alkaloids that, although poisonous, could be useful in developing drugs to fight cancer.
A favourite in folklore, bluebells were known as ‘fairy flowers’, and it was said that if you wore a bluebell you would only speak the truth.
Regardless of whether you are a nature lover or not, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the sight of a woodland floor covered in blue. Visitors flock from all over to walk amongst the bluebells in Devon, and they really are very special to see.
We have listed five of our favourite bluebell haunts, and recommend you visit at least one over the next few weeks. They are only in flower for a short time so you need to be quick!
Borough Woods, Ilfracombe
Awash with a carpet of colour in Springtime, Borough Woods is one of the longest remaining stretches of ancient woodland in North Devon. Once visited, you will want to return again and again, regardless of season as there is always beauty to witness.
The woodland hosts 37 different plants such as wood anenomes, wood sorrel, purple orchids and golden saxifrage.
Emsworthy Mire, Nr Widecome-in-the-Moor
A Devon Wildlife Trust area, Emsworthy Mire is a 98 hectare site in which half is formed by a wet valley mire. A small stream, Becka Brook, runs along the bottom and is inhabited by an abundance of wildlife.
At the centre of the reserve lie the remains of Emsworthy farmstead, in which the buildings are believed to have been inhabited until the early 1870’s. Only the stone farm remains, and in the late springtime this area is dominated by a carpet of bluebells.
Scanniclift Copse, Doddiscom
Scanniclift Copse is another Devon Wildlife Trust woodland, mainly oak which joins the woodland at Woodah Farm.
The woodland floor is sprinkled with wild garlic and bluebells in Spring, and visitors can walk the trail around the reserve to make the most of the colour and flora. It is narrow and winding in places, with some steep sections. Please allow 45 minutes to compete the circuit.
Hembury Fort, Honiton
Hembury Fort is one of those hidden, unknown gems that once visited, you return year after year. It is an iron age hill fort dating from the late fifth and early fourth millennia BC and onward to the Roman invasion.
The site is a beautiful carpet of colour in spring time and visitors are able to walk the entire circuit of the area.
Wembury Woods, Wembury Village
A National Trust destination, Wembury Woods are beautiful to walk around. There is a wonderful, although hilly, 5 mile route around the woods that you can walk which takes in the bluebells, as well as the fantastic views across the Yealm River. You may be lucky enough to spot deer that graze in the woods, or local waterfowl on the river.