Throughout the woodlands in Norfolk, you can see some of the country’s best places to witness spectacular displays of spring bluebells, and because of a mild spring, the blue woodland carpet should be particularly stunning this year.
Often referred to as the nation’s favourite flowers, it isn’t surprising that the United Kingdom is home to half of the global bluebell population. Consequently, this means that our woodlands are the envy of Europe, and right here in Norfolk we have some of the very best places to witness and view these beautiful flowers.
For a few short weeks, before the leaves unfurl, our woodlands are transformed into a hypnotic blue woodland, and from afar it can appear as though it was a body of water, making it one of the most spectacular floral displays in the world.
However, despite being protected by law, they are under threat, both from habitat loss, because of foreign rivals and devious collectors who dig up the bulbs to sell on for profit.
250 years ago, the Spanish bluebell began to invade and compete for space with our British native. It poses a threat as the plant can interbreed with the UK flower. An easy way of telling the difference is because an English plant has drooping flowers one side of the stem and is scented, while the Spanish bluebell is unscented and has flowers on all sides of the stem with a larger, more open bell.
Despite the threat, the humble bluebell remains one of our real champions of spring and it is well worth the effort to visit the bluebells when on your short breaks for families and stand still in awe at nature’s sheer beauty.
Bacton Wood dates back to Saxton times and is home to ancient Sessile Oaks and thirty other species of tree. A couple of miles north-east of North Walsham on Happisburgh Road, Bacton Wood is managed by the Forestry Commission who have been thinning and chopping conifers to encouraged natural regeneration of the broadleaf species and plants such as bluebells. Walkers can take to stroll through the woods to see over 30 species of tree in addition to bluebells.
This mansion which is owned by the National Trust is surrounded by 950 acres of beautiful woodland and parkland. You can find wildflowers such as bluebells, campions and yellow archangel growing amongst the oak, chestnut, beech, rowan and ash trees. Thousands of bluebell bulbs were taken to be planted in Blickling’s formal garden in the 1930’s.
Burlingham Woods near Acle is owned by Norfolk County Council and remains a wild, yet rural feel. Trails around the woods wind around the land which is associated with the late Georgian Burlingham Hall, which was demolished about 50 years ago. It has a mixture of mature woodland and more recent wood and orchard planting
Famous for its gardens and grounds, Walsingham Abbey is home to spectacular ruins of the medieval Priory and place of pilgrimage since the 11th century. The grounds are renowned for its display of snowdrops in February and bluebells in the Spring.