19 beautiful local bluebell walks
Blooming 'eck! Bluebells are popping up in their thousands across Bucks and Oxon. Here's where to find the best of them on your sprightly springtime walk.
Spring is in the air, and isn’t it gorgeous! We’re so lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods in our area, so there are loads of options to get your fix of the little blue fellas. Here are 19 of the best hotspots to visit now.
Greys Court, Henley
Not only a magically pretty National Trust building and gardens well worth a visit in its own right, but the Greys Court Spinney Woods are a sea of English bluebells, it’s an extraordinarily beautiful site. The walk itself is either a toddler friendly 750 metres or a more stretchy 2-3k depending on how you’re feeling.
Stoke Wood, near Bicester
This 400-year-old Woodland Trust site is carpeted with blue beauties in the spring, and has marked trails so you won’t get lost and eaten by the Gruffalo or anything (and please stick to them – apparently rare fauna there is under threat from trampling). There’s also a variety of butterflies and birds, including tawny owls.
The formal gardens at this National Trust gem on the Bucks/Berks border are a sight to behold in all seasons, but you’ll need to venture into the ancient woodlands surrounding them to get the best views of the bluebells in April. Pick up a leaflet or download this online guide for tips on where to walk to spot them.
Badbury Clump, nr Faringdon
A spectacular display of bluebells among the beech trees at Badbury Hill and Badbury Clump. Badbury Clup is the remains of an Iron Age hill fort from about 600BC with woodland paths and trails perfect for families, with a free car park nearby.
Foxholes, nr Burford
Ancient woodland 4 miles south of Burford, with an easy circular Wildlife Walk (1.75 miles) and carpets of bluebells in April and May.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
No explanation needed for Blenheim: beautiful heritage site plus bluebells is a dead cert. The flowers are dotted all around the extensive grounds, but the best place to spot them is in the Arboretum.
Stowe’s been on a planting spree over the last few years, adding a whopping 338,200 bulbs to their grounds – including a new meadow of bluebells, which can be spotted in the dell opposite the Sleeping Wood.
Wendover Wood, Wendover
My local go-to bluebell display, this 325 hectare wood has a café, Go Ape, riding trails, children’s woodland play area and displays of bluebells on the extensive paths. You can easily spend a whole day up here, so go when it’s sunny to make the most of the facilities.
Another National Trust winner, you have two options at Hughenden: ramble through the pleasure gardens to spot the clumps of wild bluebells as they pop up in April and May, or head to the waymarked walks such as the one in Woodcock Wood (which is only a mile and easy on little legs).
Cowleaze Woods, nr Watlington
This lovely wood is set high in the Chiltern Hills with amazing views over the surrounding countryside. Plenty of paths to explore and a lovely option for little kids, with all the red kites flying around.
An equal distance from Chesham, Berkhamsted, Tring and Wendover in the Chiltern Hills, the 42 hectares are a designated County Wildlife Site so are bursting with all sorts of beautiful flora, fungi and fauna as well as your bluebell fix. The land is privately owned, but it’s access all areas to the public.
Hollington Wood, Bucks
A Muddy reader tipped us off about this spot (thank you!). This ancient woodland, 8 miles north of Milton Keynes, is locally known as ‘The Bluebell Wood’ for good reason. It’s privately owned, but happy to have visitors so long as you check for permission first over Facebook.
Ashridge Estate, nr Aylesbury
Okay, technically cheating as this one’s over the border in Herts, but it’s worth the trip for the carpets of bluebells in the last week of April and the first week of May. Everyone else has the same idea though, so go off-peak if you can.
Howe Park Wood, Milton Keynes
A scenic nature park with ancient oak trees, hiking paths and a small play area in the middle of Milton Keynes. Yup you read that right!
Great Tew Estate, north Oxfordshire
About as quintessentially English as a Cotswold village can get (it’s a popular filming location for The Crown), Great Tew is eight miles north east of Chippy and has acres and acres (3,500 to be exact) of woodland, parks and farmland- all prime bluebell hotspots.
Not forgetting… The woodlands around Boarstall Duck Decoy nr Bicester (book in advance); Adams Wood, between Frieth and Skirmett a few miles east of Christmas Common; the coppiced beech wood of Low Scrubs near Coombe Hill, just south of Wendover; the beech woodlands around Hambleden Valley and, a lesser known spot, Bagley Wood in Kennington village, two miles south of Oxford centre.
Every year when I write about bluebell hotspots I receive a flurry of messages about the ones I’ve forgotten. Have I finally nailed a comprehensive list this year, I wonder? Please let me know in the comments if there are any omissions!