Bluebell time! 12 local walks to do now
They're coming out! Time to hit the local woods, cliffs and National Trust properties to see these blue beauties at their best this spring.
Scanniclift Copse, Doddiscombleigh
The Teign Valley is a stunner all year-round but this steeply wooded 8-acre patch of Devon Wildlife Trust is awash with bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemone now. Stop for a cosy lunch or a pint at Doddy’s ye-olde village pub, The Nobody Inn, known for its collection of cheeses and whiskies.
Beckland Woods, Hartland Peninsula
The whole of the Hartland Peninsula is a bluebell bonanza but if you prefer yours with a clifftop stomp and off-the-scale coastal views across Bideford Bay this is your go to. It’s dog friendly – a two-mile circular stomp with the remains of an ancient hill fort to see at a blowy 330ft above sea level. Alternatively, park at the nearby NT car park at Brownsham and take the windy path through equally bluebell-filled Brownsham Woods.
National Trust Greenway, Galmpton
The woodland paths at Agatha Christie’s one-time holiday home, leading down to the river are brimful of bluebells in spring. It’s gorgeous here, stop in the cafe, look inside and see the house laid out, with a straw hat here, and a book laid open there, just as the crime novelist might have left it. Dogs are welcome, and it’s essential to book your parking. Unless you arrive by river!
Hembury Fort, Payhembury, nr Honiton
A Neolithic Iron Age hill fort in the Blackdown Hills, only recently rediscovered and now a scheduled monument and cared for by a special management team. It’s also bluebell heaven now, offering an easy circular walk with heaps of interesting historical interpretation thrown in. Access is via public footpath off the A373.
Lady’s Wood, South Brent
A happy half-hour ramble up the gentle slopes of a Wildlife Trust reserve, on the edge of Dartmoor. If you can bear to peel your eyes off the little blue fellas and look up, you might be lucky enough to spy a dormouse or two in the tree branches, which being nocturnal spend their days snoozing. Apparently, they spend three-quarters of the year asleep. Maybe the Wildlife Trust would like to adopt my teens? They’d fit right in.
National Trust Buckland Abbey, Yelverton
Head to Sir Francis Drake’s former home, or more specifically the Great North Wood, for a sea of bluebells in late April and May, dating back to when the Cistercian monks lived here in Medieval times.
RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington
No intro needed for Rosemoor but did you know it has a bluebell wood as one of its charms? All thanks to the RHS cleverly persuading the local school children to plant a whopping 70,000 bluebells under the beech trees at Torrington Wood. Impressive.
Borough Woods, Ilfracombe
Jammy North Devon has more blue carpets than Axminster at this time of year and this ancient wood is bursting at the seams – not just with bluebells but native orchids, wood anemone and ferns and wildlife. It’s practically an Utterly Butterly ad.
Wembury Woods, Wembury
Another one with great watery views – of the stunning River Yealm – so a brilliant National Trust stomp all year round but with the extra reward of getting to weave your way though swathes of blue beauties in the spring.
Emsworthy Mire, Dartmoor
Swerve the crowds at Haytor and head for the hills towards Widecombe in the Moor to find this gently sloping valley and your bluebell fix, along with the atmospheric ruins of a moorland farm dating back to the 19th century.
Lydford Gorge, Dartmoor
Left it too late to see them? Growing on the edge of Dartmoor in the south west’s deepest river gorge, and 150m above sea level, they come into flower late and last longest here, and still in flower into late May or early June, depending on the weather. A great trail for adventurers with a 30m waterfall, a suspension bridge and raging torrents after rain – and a tea room – but wear your boots, it can very slippy!
National Trust Knightshayes, Tiverton
Mooch beyond the formal gardens with its hedge-top topiary to the wilder areas and woods for the bluebell action. It’s magical. And there’s a great little nursery where you can pick up unusual plants, including heritage tomatoes.
Where have we missed? Don’t keep it to yourself now – let us know your favourite bluebell hotspot in the comments below.
Updated April 2022.