A walk in our favourite bluebell wood on a sunny Spring day reassures me that winter is behind us and warmer weather is on its way. The splashes of colour in our local woodlands from the carpets of wild bluebells are one of our annual natural highlights. Depending on the weather, they usually start flowering in April, taking advantage of the spring warmth and sunlight for a few weeks before the tree canopy fills out and casts them into shade. They were certainly out in full force when we were in Devon for the early May bank holiday weekend.
Finding bluebells around Sidmouth:
Take a walk from Sidmouth seafront along the South West Coast path to the East or West and you’ll find bluebells in the woods on Salcombe Hill or on Mutters Moor and in the woods along the ridge. Or, you can avoid the climb up the steep hills and drive East up Salcombe Hill Road and park in the car park opposite the observatory. Alternatively, drive West up Peak Hill Road and park in the Mutters Moor car park.
- Fire Beacon Hill above Sidbury has a bluebell wood and moorland with views along the Sid Valley to the coast. There are a couple of car parks along the ridge at the top of the hill.
- Blackbury Camp about 15 minute drive west along the A3052 has woodlands carpeted with bluebells. It’s sign posted from the main road.
- Holyford Woods is our favourite secret spot, tucked away in a valley near Seaton about 20 minutes drive West along the A3052 from Sidmouth. There’s parking at the top of Seaton Down Hill where you can take in the panoramic views across the Axe valley before walking inland. Cross the main coast road and follow the footpath down through the fields to the woods. Keep right and the path takes you down to a bridge by an old reservoir (a great spot for a bit of dam building). There’s a circular path along the valley and up the hill which takes in all the bluebells in this unspoilt wood.
- Dartmoor can have the most dramatic displays, often flowering later than other areas because of its exposed hilly landscape.
Photos from our walk in Holyford Woods, May 2016: