It’s bluebell time!
We've never been so eager to see these little harbingers of spring - we need that bolt of blue in our lives! Here are the best Wiltshire spots to get that fix - have we forgotten any?
Grovely Wood, near Wilton
Just outside Salisbury, start this walk at Wilton marketplace. There are several options (and we do like options) from a short stroll through through meadows to a 4-mile jaunt through woods, or around 5 to Salisbury. Stop off at Bird and Carter farm shop & cafe for refreshments.
Stourhead, Maiden Bradley
You can take a turn around the famous National Trust garden (but pre-book at the moment), or venture out into the surrounding woodland for the best bluebells (no ticket required). Ask nicely at the visitor centre and they might give you a map for the Bonham Wood walk – a bluebell favourite. Afterwards rest up in the lovely courtyard of The Spread Eagle pub.
Hagbourne Copse, Swindon
Owned by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, close to town yet a veritable feast of nature where rabbits and deer can be spotted in the bluebells that grow under the oaks.
A separate attraction from the main Bowood Estate, the woodland gardens are open for only six weeks from 23rd April (booking open now) for their magnificent spring flowering season of rhododendrons and azaleas as well as bluebells. Perfect for wildlife and gardening geeks, it’s packed with hardy hybrids previously thought extinct.
Wheelers Wood, Lacock
Approach gorgeous Lacock from Sandy Lane via Bowden Hill, a short, picturesque drive. Or get in those 10,000 steps with a 12 mile circular walk. Then put your feet up in the lovely garden at The Sign of the Angel, while blackmailing reluctant kids with promises of ice cream from the village and actual Harry Potter locations.
Clanger Wood, Heywood
This pocket of ancient woodland between Trowbridge and Westbury is managed by the Woodland Trust, who site it as one of the best bluebell spots in the country for the native species – they’re the ones with dark cobalt flowers and a strong scent, as opposed to the Spanish which are pale lilac with little scent. It’s generally a quiet spot, with the odd local dog-walker.
West Woods, Marlborough
2.5 miles south west of Marlborough, these are the most popular woods in Wiltshire for bluebell spotting, with good reason, as the blue carpet of flowers can be stunning. There are numerous woodland trails to explore, with stone-surfaced paths making it a bit easier for bikes and buggies.
Drews Wood Pond, Devizes
This pretty nature reserve is managed by the Woodland Trust and has well cared-for footpaths, picnic tables, a stream and, natch, a pond. A little hilly in places; good for dogs.
Badbury Hill, Faringdon
It seems Forest Bathing is a thing, and the National Trust’s Badbury Hill is the place to do it. A truly sumptuous forest to lose yourself in. When you’ve finished tree-hugging and trying not to step on the lush bluebell carpet, stop off at Soho House-owned Mollie’s Diner.