If you were to walk out of our back garden gate and turn right along the path, you’d reach the village in about half a mile. Turn left and you walk along a path further into the woods. No roads to cross. A well defined path that gets over grown in parts during the summer. You might bump into a local out walking their dog, but most days, more than likely, it would be only you, the birds and an occasional deer on the path. Although a vole did run across my path today, so you’re never alone. It is our dog walking route. Has been for over 22 years.
There have been changes. Mainly organic. Nature has gradually reclaimed on old brick hut. Remapped the landscape slightly in parts. Trees grown and others fallen. Seasons changing. It is beautiful. In a strange way, over time, we’ve become part of it all. Shaping and being shaped by this place. Tied to a place that frees us, in a way that only nature can.
Bluebell season is here. We always make a special walk to see them. Not just our daily dog walk. Bluebells are one of the signs of an ancient wood. Ours becomes a carpet of blue where the ground has been undisturbed and the growing conditions are right. You’d never know the rest of the year. No sign.
Bluebells are delicate. Heavy footfall, while they sleep (or anytime), and they will not thrive. When they push through the soil and flower, you can see the paths that we and the animals make the rest of the year. There are clear lines of bare earth, weaving through the carpets of blue. We can walk a mile and a half and enjoy the sight and smell of them en route. A delicate, floral fragrance that almost seems to escape.I’m glad we stick to the same paths during the year. I’d hate to think I was treading on the bluebells while they were dormant, and crushing them with our feet.
In contrast, if you were to take the more walked path down to the village, there are very few bluebells. Same woods, but more people, making more paths, I suppose. Maybe picking the flowers too. Less chance to seed. We walked back from the village today, after voting, and I couldn’t help noticing that the infrequent and small patches of bluebells were nestled close to young holly trees. Protected for the time being, by the prickly leaves.
These are all native bluebells. Smaller bells with curling rims. Not flared. The flowers are on one side of the stem so you get the characteristic droop. I can almost imagine the fairies and other magical folk standing beside them.
I noticed patches of the invasive Spanish bluebells (not included in my photos here) along our way, where people have either dumped earth from their gardens or carried the seeds on their soles. I guess they will spread, but hopefully it will take time.
Another week or two and the bluebells will have gone. Wild garlic is already making its presence felt. It will be a carpet of white and a completely different fragrance. The ferns are unfurling and will grow tall. The remains of the bluebells will be lost. The view will change again. Till next time.
It feels a real privilege to experience this each year. This year is particularly good for bluebells. I hope you have a chance to take a walk, if you haven’t already, but please, keep to the paths, as much as you can. It really is worth it.