Barmy about bluebells
Is there anything more lovely than a thick carpet of blooming bluebells in spring? Here are the best places to spot them in Surrey.
April through to May is the best time to see carpets of blue in England’s woodlands. In Surrey, we’re lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods, so I’ve drawn up this list of hotspots for you to enjoy, as these stunning fields of blue are already coming out and only last a few weeks.
If you think there is a horrific omission, a crime against nature no less, let me know and I’ll put it on the list and if you visit any of the places I suggest, please let me know your thoughts!
Banstead Woods, nr Chipstead
There’s nothing more enchanting than stumbling across a vibrant carpet of woodland bluebells. In the Banstead Woods, near Chipstead, bluebells flourish and they are at their best between mid-April and late May.
Chantry Woods, Guildford
The bluebells in this 200 acres of woodlands and meadows are a sight to behold in spring, filling the air with their scents.
Gatton Park, Reigate Hill
The woodland at Gatton Park become a festival of blue during spring as the native bluebells run riot. The park at Gatton Park is known for the work by English landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The woodlands are managed by the National Trust, and are open access all year round.
Kingswood, nr Warlingham
A haven for dog walkers, this woodland near Sanderstead and Warlingham is magically pretty when the English bluebells bud into flower. There are easy-to-follow paths, and it’s all fairly flat, so ideal if you’ve got a buggy in tow, or it’s a gentle walk you’re after. I took this photo last week – this week the carpet of flowers is even thicker.
Runnymede, nr Old Windsor
This is where King john sealed the Magna Carta 800 years ago, but at this time of year, the ancient woodland flowers take centre stage. In Cooper’s Hill Woods, spring arrives with thick patches of bluebells, lesser celandines, dog’s mercury and wood anemones creating a magical atmosphere. The National Trust’s oldest tree, a 2,500 year-old yew known as the Ankerwycke yew is also here.
Cucknell’s Wood, Shamley Green
These woodlands are well known for their displays of spring flowers, particularly the carpet of vibrant bluebells. The woodlands are on Weald Clay. You’ll find oak, ash, birch, rowan or mountain ash and hazel trees, as well as some holly, wild cherry, hawthorn and crab apple trees.
Kew Gardens, Richmond
The woodlands near Queen Charlotte’s cottage is one of the best places to see the bluebell displays if you live closer to London. This 18th century thatched cottage and these ancient woods, part of which is over 300 years old, were a private haven for Queen Charlotte.
Chinthurst Hill, Wonersh
A steep walk through ancient woodland to the top of the hill rewards visitors with fine views and beautiful displays of bluebells along the way. A quiet and peaceful spot, with many species of tree, including oak, sweet chestnut, hazel and rowan. You’ll also find a stone folly built in the 1930’s, which is now a Grade II listed building.
The 18th century landscaped gardens at Painshill have some wonderful bluebell displays. Take in the unique 18th century follies including The Ruined Abbey, Turkish Tent, Gothic Temple and Gothic Tower while you’re there.
Little Wix Wood, Hatchlands Park, nr Guildford
There’s a beautiful bluebell walk here, with an abundance of the tiny blue flowers carpeting the woodland. Here’s a link to a great circular walking trail that will take you past some wonderful displays through woodlands and open parkland. There’s a children’s adventure playground along the way, and the trail is great for dog walkers.
Winkworth Arboretum, nr Godalming
From late April a carpet of bluebells covers the floor at Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming, perfuming the woodland air, thriving in the dappled sunlight of the coppiced areas.
Wallis Wood, Walliswood Village, nr Cranleigh
Bluebells thrive in this typical example of a hazel coppice woodland on Weald Clay. There’s a woodland stream running through the site, which also has a small pool and is surrounded by pasture.
Sheepleas, West Horsley
A mosaic of ancient and recent woodlands, scrubs and open grassland on chalk. Look out for bluebells in the woodland of beech, ash and field maple and also stunning displays of cowslips in the meadows.