Spring into ACTION
Join the Woodland Trust and help to ensure the UK’s native bluebells stay in bloom
Spring is one of the most enjoyable times of year to embrace all the wonders of the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like going for a stroll through a forest and seeing the woodland floor transformed by vibrant swathes of exquisite bluebells. These enchanting blooms – one of the nation’s best-loved wildflowers – capture the essence of why ancient woods are so cherished in the UK, and so spectacular to explore in springtime. Such stunning displays have grown over the springs of many years in broadleaved woods that allow sunlight through to the woodland floor. By late May, as the trees sprout leaves and the canopy closes, the bluebells fade for another year. While native bluebells can be spotted in woods, hedgerows and parks throughout April and May, the largest coverings of them are usually found in ancient woodland. This is the UK’s most fragile and precious habitat, home to thousands of vulnerable species of flora and fauna – including the bluebell. Although bluebells are still common in the UK, their existence is under threat from the destruction of their habitat, being picked from the wild and hybridisation with non-native bluebells. Easily damaged both in bloom and when lying dormant underground, these delicate flowers are being inadvertently destroyed by people straying from woodland paths and trampling on them. The impact of people walking on bluebells can damage them enough to prevent them from seeding, and it can take many years for regeneration to occur. So, next time you’re enjoying a wander through the woods, do watch where you’re walking and take care to stick to the paths, no matter the season.