Woodland Wonderland

I love this time of year. The trees are all dressed up with nowhere to go, decked out in their finest freshly unfurled leaves and heavy garlands of blossom. The birds are singing as fervently as if they’re all in the shower and nobody’s home. And everything smells so fantastic that I want to roll in it, doggy-fashion. Spring has unquestionably sprung in all her glory.

And, thanks to nature’s most luxurious carpet, nowhere is more magical than woodland in May time. If you go down to the woods in May you’re in for a blue surprise.

I am of course talking about bluebells. I’ve spent the last few weeks enjoying the show. Home in Hertfordshire isn’t too shabby…

Bluebells Hertfordshire 2014

Bluebells Hertfordshire 2014

I’ve actually been visiting Ashridge to pay homage to these mystical flowers for a very long time. My whole life time in fact. Let me take you back to 1995…

Gem & Chloe in bluebells, 1996

When I was growing up, it was a family tradition to pack up a picnic breakfast early one morning at the start of May, and eat it perched on a log amongst the bluebells. We have photos documenting my sister and I growing up, set against a backdrop of blue, munching buttered toast or hot cross buns.

At some point I started borrowing my Dad’s camera and became more interested in the bluebells than in the breakfast. (Blasphemy?!)

2011 was a sunnier affair than this year…

Bluebells Hertfordshire 2011

Bluebells Hertfordshire 2011

I’ve been struggling to capture the symphony of green and purple for the last decade. I took this one in 2005…

Bluebells Hertfordshire 2005

Anyway, this year I was lucky enough to give my bluebell addiction a double dose. My family headed off on a bit of a last minute Cornish adventure, and were met with the most glorious display of bluebells, wild garlic, and red campion.

Woodland wild flowers in Cornwall 2014

The smell was heavenly. This is in a little copse on the cliff overlooking Polridmouth Beach, and the trees are all twisted and gnarled from a life exposed to the elements. I felt like I was in The Wind and the Willows. 

Bark and Moss

Wild wood, Cornwall 2014

Bluebells and wild garlic seemed to be everywhere. In the woods, in the fields, lining the roads…

Prickly Post Lane

Even the track down to our cottage was banked in splendour (and the over-hanging azaleas didn’t hurt either).

Azalea and wild garlic

Woodland flowers

Wild garlic
But, like all good magicians, the woods saved their best for last. On our final day in Cornwall we visited the Luxulyan valley to find our favourite woodland haunt.

Luxulyan Aqueduct

Not far from the shadow of the aqueduct, there runs a stream. And if you follow it down the valley, you will find this place.

Luxulyan Valley
Giant rocks are strewn around as a long-gone glacier’s calling card, trees have spent centuries getting comfortable and stretching their roots out, leaf litter covers the ground, moss clings to every surface it can, and – apart from the musical noise of the stream – there’s an almost holy quiet that settles over everything.

Moss on tree roots in Luxulyan

Luxulyan Valley

A magical place made more magical by the presence of my favourite little bells of blue.

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One response to “Woodland Wonderland

  1. beautiful, thanks for sharing

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