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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.

Hawridge and Cholesbury Commons, Bucks

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.

Phew!

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!

9 comments on “The best local bluebell walks”

  • T.Hall March 21, 2019

    Great Recs thanks! Would be useful to add info for dog owners on dog friendly policies for each of the places. Ie allowed but on lead, off lead or no dogs. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Caroline Winter March 21, 2019

    Don’t forget Evenley Woods….between Buckingham and Bicester!

    Reply
  • Liz Busby March 24, 2019

    Thank you for this article, I live in Downley Village not far from Wendover. So I think I might visit the wood

    Reply
  • Shirley Broadway April 21, 2019

    The Falkland arms and Bakergirls in Great Tew are good bets for stop offs. There’s no way you’d gain access to Soho Farmhouse without a membership card. ( unless you’re staying there of course)

    Reply
  • Geoff Turner April 21, 2020

    When I drove past the other day, Badbury Clump was closed to the public because of the Covid-19 lockdown. Driving to the wood is deemed as non-essential travel, which is a great shame as it is a lovely place to escape.

    Reply
  • Lisa G April 21, 2020

    I went for a walk over the weekend to ‘Bottom Wood’ which is one of the Chiltern Way walks between Studley Green and Radnage. The bluebells were beautiful down there. A great 2mile walk around the wood and surrounding countryside.

    Reply
  • Rachel Constable April 21, 2020

    Cowleaze Wood car park is closed – there’s very limited parking along the verge – but bluebell hunters will find lovely walks nearby starting near the Fox and Hounds, Christmas Common. Park opposite the pub and then with the pub on your right, follow the road and take the footpath (on the right just past the pink house) into Watlington Park. Beautiful.

    Reply
  • Lyn Hale April 23, 2020

    I so enjoy your recommendations and forward them to my family in Leighton Buzzard.
    When Coronavirus restrictions are lifted, I will have a chance to once again see the lovely houses, woods and gardens in t heir area.
    In the meantime, I enjoy your Cornish recommendations and walks in this lovely weather.
    Keep it up, please. Lyn

    Reply
  • Bev Jane April 29, 2020

    Kennington woods (Oxford) are full of beautiful Bluebells at the moment. Just out of the city and well worth a visit.

    Reply

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