The best 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 daily dose of exercise.
You’ve got one walk a day, so best make it gorgeous! We’re so lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods in our area and whilst, sadly, a few are closed to the pubic this year, there are still loads of options to get your fix of the little blue fellas. Here are 15 of the best hotspots that you can still visit during lockdown.
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.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
No explanation needed for Blenheim: beautiful heritage site plus bluebells is a dead cert. The palace, formal gardens and pleasure gardens are currently closed to the public, but you can still visit Blenheim Park between 10am – 4pm, as long as you keep your distance.
Badbury Clump, nr Faringdon
A spectacular display of bluebells among the beech trees at Badbury Hill and Badbury Clump. Badbury Clump 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 May.
Wendover Wood, Wendover
My local go-to bluebell display, this 325 hectare wood has a café, Go Ape (currently closed), 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.
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 privately owned so make sure you stick to the paths and you’ll need to pre-book parking on site. The wood is currently closed but the owners are working on creating a booking system so hopefully soon you’ll be able to visit in small numbers. Updates can be found on the Facebook page.
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; 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!