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15 places to see this spring’s bluebells in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:22 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:41 20 April 2018

Playing in the sun in a field of bluebells. Photo: Fam Veld/PA

Playing in the sun in a field of bluebells. Photo: Fam Veld/PA

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Norfolk’s woods are some of the best places in the country to witness bluebells. Simon Parkin highlights 15 of the best that will be a riot of purple haze in April and May.

Bluebells at Blickling, Wayland Wood and Fairhaven. Photos: Denise Bradley/Nicki Thurgar/Ian Burt/James Bass/Ian NicholsonBluebells at Blickling, Wayland Wood and Fairhaven. Photos: Denise Bradley/Nicki Thurgar/Ian Burt/James Bass/Ian Nicholson

The UK is home to half of the global bluebell population. Consequently our woodlands are the envy of Europe and right here in Norfolk we have some of the very best places to see carpets of blue. For a few short weeks our woodlands are transformed into a purple haze.

The appearance of the bluebell is a traditional harbinger of spring, symbolising the change of the seasons and it is well worth visiting a bluebell wood near you, to stand still in awe of nature’s sheer beauty.

Bacton Wood — Two and a half miles north-east of North Walsham on the Happisburgh Road, this wood that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times has waymarked walks to see bluebells as well as ancient Sessile oaks and more than 30 species of tree.

Blickling — In the 1930s, thousands of bluebell bulbs were planted in Blickling’s formal gardens. Head up Temple Walk for blooms as well as The Great Wood, which has existed since before medieval times. There will be free guided walks on April 26-28 (all 10am).

Buckenham Woods — A mixture of woodland, rough open grassland and two semi-wet areas, these woods, near Strumpshaw, have a reputation for bluebells in the spring, and are also great for birds, butterflies and dragonflies.

Burlingham Woods — This wood near Acle is a mixture of mature woodland and more recent trees and orchard plantings with easy circular walks offering glimpses of bluebells.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden — Fairhaven at South Walsham always has a beautiful pockets of bluebells and from April 23-May 13 there is access to the neighbouring nature reserve and its bluebell woods. There is also a special guided bluebell walk on April 29.

Foxley Wood — At 123 hectares, Foxley is Norfolk’s largest remaining ancient woodland, and a firm favourite with visiting families. In April-May it is a riot of colour with bluebells carpeting the woodland floor along with other interesting plants and wildflowers.

Hainford Bluebell Wood — Millions of bluebells can be seen in the five acres of this ancient woodland, part of Norfolk Bluebell Wood Burial Park. The owners of this spectacular bluebell wood are holding free open days, April 21-22 and April 28-29 (all 10am-4pm). Donations towards Teenage Cancer Trust.

Lower Wood, Ashwellthorpe — This ancient woodland was recorded in the Domesday Book. Alongside the bluebells that carpet in spring, wild garlic is also common. There is a bluebell walk and followed by afternoon tea on May 13 (5.30pm, £5, book on 01508 488337).

Pigneys Wood — The site of an impressive 450-year-old ancient oak tree ‘the Old Oak’ which is next to a small woodland area, this site near Knapton boasts a carpet of bluebells in spring.

Sheringham Park — With bi-centenary celebrations of landscape gardener Humphry Repton underway, this National Trust park, designed in 1812, is well worth a visit and has plenty of spring bluebells. There are guided walks on April 26 and May 10 (both 11.30am).

Sisland Carr — Near to Chedgrave and Loddon, in mid-to-late April and May this small wood has bluebells carpeting the woodland floor. Work has been ongoing to replace conifers with broadleaved trees and bluebells have thrived.

Thursford Wood — It is thought that some of the oak trees in Thursford could be more than 500 years old, some of the oldest in Norfolk, it also has an excellent display of spring bluebells.

Wayland Wood — Believed to be the site of the legend “Babes in the Wood”, this actively managed wild wood, near Watton, always has bluebells, as well as purple orchids and wood anemone.

Walsingham Abbey — The garden and grounds surrounding Walsingham Abbey are famous for the spectacular ruins of the mediaeval Priory but also colourful wildflower meadows, including bluebells in the 18 acres of woodlands.

Greenacres Memorial Park — This eco-burial site at Colney may seem like an unusual place to visit but the 16 acres of mature woodland and a sunny open meadow, The Dell, offer up a springtime carpet of blooming bluebells.

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