Nature rolls out the blue carpet

Friday 8th April 2011

As The Wildlife Trusts’ reserves put on spring displays

As spring gets into its stride, one of our most breathtaking natural spectacles is unfolding within ancient woodlands across the UK, with bluebells bursting into colour. And with 2,300 nature reserves around the UK, The Wildlife Trusts can offer plenty of places to appreciate it.

Throughout April and May woodland rides where bluebell bulbs have lain dormant for months are lit up with sapphire. By managing woodland reserves carefully through practices such as coppicing, The Wildlife Trusts are helping to ensure bluebell displays are as magical as possible, and remain one of the best free shows on offer.

VisitWoods is a new interactive website showcasing the UK’s woodlands, featuring up to 14,000 woods belonging to The Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, National Trust, Forestry Commission and RSPB

Paul Wilkinson, head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “Bluebell carpets alone are a tremendous spectacle. And they come hand in hand with a profusion of other wildflowers such as wood anemones, ramsons and celandine, along with busy birds building nests and forming partnership bonds. This combination makes a trip to a Wildlife Trust woodland in spring the ideal way to take time out, reflect on nature’s beauty and appreciate what a healthy natural environment has to offer.

“Local Wildlife Trusts need support to maintain the conditions of many of our woodlands. Those people who offer support through, for example, membership or volunteering, can enjoy bluebell woodlands with the added knowledge they are helping to establish A Living Landscape which can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

VisitWoods is a new interactive website showcasing the UK’s woodlands, featuring up to 14,000 woods belonging to The Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, National Trust, Forestry Commission and RSPB. The site includes searchable maps, inspiring ideas, free activities and space to upload photos and tips. Share experiences of bluebell woodlands at www.visitwoods.org.uk. This website is made possible by £1.2m of funding as part of Natural England's Access to Nature programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Some of the best of The Wildlife Trusts’ nature reserves to enjoy bluebells are listed below. To search for your nearest reserve by postcode visit: www.wild-net.org/ukwebsite/TWTReserves.aspx. You can also search The Wildlife Trusts’ website for events such as bluebell walks at www.wildlifetrusts.org/index.php?section=events.

Top Wildlife Trust reserves for bluebells include:

• Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) – Bowdown Woods http://www.bbowt.org.uk/content.asp?did=23529
• BCNP Wildlife Trust – Brampton Wood www.wildlifebcnp.org/reserves/reserve.php?reserveid=39
• Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Dorothy Farrer's Spring Wood http://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task...
• Derbyshire Wildlife Trust – Mapperley Wood www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/reserves/reserves.php
• Lancashire Wildlife Trust - Aughton Woods (non-members require permit – contact the Preston office (01772) 324129 ) http://www.lancswt.org.uk/
• Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust – Hambleton Wood http://lrwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/rutland-water/
• Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Tortoiseshell Wood nature reserve www.lincstrust.org.uk/reserves/nr/reserve.php?mapref=57
• London Wildlife Trust - Sydenham Hill Wood www.wildlondon.org.uk/Naturereserves/tabid/91/language/en-GB/Naturereser...
• Norfolk Wildlife Trust – Foxley Wood http://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/foxley.aspx
- Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Goose’s Nest Bluebell Bank – there is no access to the reserve but the best bluebell views are from the road nearby. www.nwt.org.uk/index.php?section=places:reserves&reserveid=343
• Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Gilfach Farm Nature Reserve http://www.rwtwales.org/index.php/radnorshire-wildlife-trust-reserves/gi...
• Sheffield Wildlife Trust Moss Valley Woodlands http://www.wildsheffield.com/Sheffield/FolderMenu/content22.aspx?id=184
• The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Castle Woods – Llandeilo Carmarthenshire http://www.welshwildlife.org/reservesCarmarthenshire_en.link.
• Somerset Wildlife Trust, Longwood Nature Reserve http://www.somersetwildlife.org/cheddar_complex.html
• Surrey Wildlife Trust – Cucknells Wood http://www.surreywildlifetrust.org/reserves/show?id=40
• Sussex Wildlife Trust - Selwyns Wood http://www.sussexwt.org.uk/reserves/page00025.htm
• Tees Valley Wildlife Trust Saltburn Gill http://www.teeswildlife.org/NR-saltburn.htm
• Worcestershire Wildlife Trust - The Knapp and Papermill www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/index.php?section=places%3Areserves&reserve....


Story by RSWT
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Image credit: Philip Precey