What is it about bluebells?
Around this time of the year they appear, and draw crowds of admirers. And I’m one. I look forward to seeing the bluebells and can’t wait until they make their first appearance of the year.
They are a stunning sight, whether as part of a woodland floor, or covering bare hillsides.
On Sunday we walked up to Flakebridge Wood, near to Appleby in Cumbria. A pleasant walk up Well House Lane, a quiet no through road, its own banks lined with the flowers. Flakebridge has some of the best bluebells in Cumbria and it is worth the trip if you are nearby. You can walk out the way we went, or start from Dufton, rambling through the bluebell-rich Dufton Gill on the way.
If you are in Devon, at the other end of the country, try looking at the lower banks of the River Mardle on south-east Dartmoor, or the southern slopes of Fire Beacon above Sidmouth.
Why are we so stunned by the sight of flowers? Why do we pause for a while to admire that great view across the countryside? What is it in our human make up that makes us appreciate such things?
I don’t have any answers. Only that life would be poorer if there were no bluebells. If they were about for much of the year, perhaps we’d take them for granted. It’s the brief glimpse that makes us admire them and miss them when they’ve gone.
So get out there into the countryside and enjoy them while you can – and fight to preserve the woodlands where they grow. The thought that future generations might not see such sights is thoroughly despairing – yet many of our ancient woodlands are under terrible threat from developers and exploiters.
Britain has lost much of its ancient woodlands – we should make sure that this destruction ends. So please support at least one group that is fighting for our countryside.
Over the next couple of weeks we are going out to seek more bluebells.