Now that spring has arrived, the National Trust has revealed the best places to spot dramatic carpets of bluebells in East Sussex.
The sight and scent of bluebells covering a woodland floor on a warm spring day is one of the most magical experiences nature has to offer.
With over half the global population of bluebells flowering on UK shores, Britain’s beautiful blue spring is a quintessential part of our native landscape.
Matthew Oates, a naturalist for the National Trust, said: “Bluebells start to grow in January with a sole purpose to flower before other woodland plants. However, timing of flowering depends on elevation, latitude, aspect, soils, geology and local climate conditions – they depend on warm ground conditions to help them grow. The true beauty of our bluebells – the intense blue colour, the delicate scent, the view – makes them an essential and special element to our springtime experience.”
The top National Trust places to enjoy a day out surrounded by nodding bluebells in East Sussex are:
Sheffield Park and Garden
The delicate heads of English bluebells emerge in copses, carpet clearings and spread under the canopies of trees and shrubs at Sheffield Park. The bluebells enhance and contrast beautifully with the naturalised planting in the historic ‘Capability’ Brown designed garden and its wider parkland, creating a spectacular spring show.
Andy Jesson, head gardener at Sheffield Park said: “From disaster comes hope; the loss of many of our trees in the storms of 1987 and 1990 increased the light levels around the garden. This means that swathes of bluebells have now become a prominent feature in our garden. Spot them to the left of Auckland Walk and the gated copses on the parkland or stop for a picnic in the dappled sunlight”.
Wednesday 27 April, 10am-12pm and Wednesday 4 May, 10am-12pm
Join the team for a guided walk to see the natural wonder of carpets of bluebells. You’ll be exploring some exclusive areas of the garden and parkland, so weather appropriate clothing and footwear is advised. Normal admission charges apply. Tickets £5 per adult, booking essential on 01825 790231.
Bluebell fans are spoilt for choice at Standen, which offers several areas of bluebell coverage totalling around 20 acres. The most popular site is the four acres of bluebells within Rockinghill Wood, followed by Hollybush Wood.
James Masters, head gardener at Standen comments: “We’ve been restoring the woodlands at Standen to traditional coppice management, which has in turn made the bluebells flourish. It’s wonderful to see that an increasing number are flowering each year.”
Weather conditions permitting, the bluebells at Standen may also coincide with over 8,000 bright and bold tulips carpeting the terraces and borders around the house and garden in mid-April to mid-May.