‘The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.’ - Emily Bronte
Did you know that up to 50% of the world’s population of bluebells are found in the UK and they are now a protected species? And one of the best places to experience their colourful display and wonderful aroma is the Lake District, a national park renowned for its bluebell woods.
If you're wondering when is bluebell season, then read on to discover the best time to catch this spectacular springtime show and some of our favourite woodland walks where you'll find them.
Fascinating facts about bluebells:
- When do bluebells flower? Mid-April to late May.
- The first bluebells are believed to have appeared in Britain after the last Ice Age.
- Bluebells are also known as ‘fairy flowers’. It was believed that fairies used bluebells to trap passers-by.
- In the Bronze Age feathers were stuck on arrows with glue made from bluebells.
- The biggest threats to bluebells are habitat loss and uprooting of the bulbs for gardens. Bluebells are protected under law in UK. If you dig up and sell a wild bluebell you can be fined £5000 per bulb!
- The bulbs produce an extremely sticky substance which was once used to stick the pages in books.
- It takes at least five years for a seed to grow into a bulb, and the bulbs can remain dormant for up to 100 years.
- Bluebells are an important early food flower for bees, hoverflies and butterflies which feed on nectar.
- Are bluebells poisonous? Yes they are, the chemical that makes them poisonous was used in alchemy and is being researched by modern-day scientists for medical use.
The best bluebell woods in the Lake District
Skelghyll Woods – Ambleside
One of the best places to see bluebells in the Lake District is Skelghyll Woods in Ambleside. This ancient woodland is home to some of Britain’s most impressive trees, including the tallest Grand Fir in England, and the tallest Douglas Fir in Cumbria. Follow the National Trust’s Champion Tree Trail which winds its way from Waterhead car park to Jenkin Crag and admire the swathes of bluebells among the magnificent tree trunks. There are picnic opportunities aplenty along the way.
Browse our cottages nearby in Ambleside.
Brandelhow Woods – Derwentwater
When it comes to woodland walks with bluebells in the Lake District, Brandelhow is a top choice. Visit in spring and the Brandelhow Bay Walk will reveal carpets of purple flowers through the woodland, followed by a gentle meander along the beautiful shores of Derwentwater. Best of all, these bluebell woods are perfect for families to explore, with an easy terrain for pushchairs to follow.
Browse our cottages nearby in Derwentwater.
White Moss Common – Grasmere
The woodland around White Moss Common is another wonderful place for bluebell walks in the Lake District. Situated between Grasmere and Rydal Water, there is a Miles Without Stiles trail which is easily accessible and suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The woods are blanketed in stunning bluebells and a variety of Lakeland flowers in spring, and if you park in Grasmere you can treat yourself to some world-famous Grasmere Gingerbread on your way back.
Browse our cottages nearby in Grasmere.
Low Wood – Wasdale
Head to the wildest of the Lake District’s valleys to see this rugged and unspoilt landscape flourishing with bluebells. Low Wood in the Wasdale Valley is an enchanting and peaceful place to see bluebells in the Lake District and if you’re bringing your four-legged family members, then you’ll be pleased to know this walk is dog-friendly too. Drink in the outstanding views across Wastwater, the Lake District’s deepest lake, and Scafell Pike, its highest peak. And if you visit in the early morning, you’ll catch the Lake District flowers bathed in golden spring light.
Browse our cottages nearby in Coniston.
Rannerdale – Buttermere
This is perhaps one of the most famous bluebell walks in Cumbria. Visitors are drawn from all over the world to see the spectacular display when the valley turns purple as the bluebell fields blossom across the open hillside. Local legend has it that the bluebells grow in the place where native Briton’s fought their last stand against Norman invaders. A walk to the summit of Rannderdale Knotts on a day in early May is not one you’re likely to forget anytime soon.
Browse our cottages nearby in Buttermere.
Feeling inspired? Why not find a holiday cottage nearby so you can see the iconic splendour for yourself.