As the grey clouds are fewer and the cool blue skies of spring return we turn out attention to the next big event of the season that mother nature has to offer, a rich carpet of bluebells.
I must admit to thoroughly enjoying researching this article for you our dear reader. I’ve been aware of bluebell woods local to where I grew up in Bedfordshire, but when I started to ask around for any I may have missed, I was thrilled to find plenty more across Bedfordshire. I’ve listed them in no particular order, but as I’m foodie and coffee lover at heart, if there’s a local place to pop in and warm those hands on a hot drink, or maybe something stronger, I’ve made some personal recommendations.
These pretty woods in Mowbury Park are well maintained and benefit from a bubbling stream running alongside it. The perfect woods for dog walkers and nature lovers, they benefit from a host of fungi in the early Autumn but their bluebells are a welcome sight in the springtime. The park also boasts two safe play areas a small BMX track and the Four Seasons Café where you can get your hands toasty again around a mug of cocoa.
Great Ampthill Park
Set in approximately 160 acres and designed by Capability Brown, Great Ampthill Park boasts Woodland, open space with views for miles over North Bedfordshire and a local reservoir. The bluebells are in less abundance here but are worth hunting down nonetheless. There is also the friendly Park Hub Café where dog owners are welcomed with cosy outside and indoor seating all year round.
I’ve walked the dogs through these woods on many occasions, a beautiful woodland area with adjoining bridal paths through vast open fields. The best time to visit undoubtedly is April-May where you’ll be treated to not only a carpet of bluebells but also a sea of white wild garlic breaking up the blue in the latter days of May.
Steppingley Bluebell Woods
Head a mile or two west and you’ll come upon Steppingley Bluebell Woods between Tingrith and Steppingley villages. These woods are less used and untouched in many places so you can be sure of a plentiful blanket of bluebells waiting to greet you. While you’re in the area pop by The French Horn for something to warm the spirits
Part of the Greensand Ridge, Maulden Woods (sometimes called Clophill Woods) has easy access off the A6 with plenty of parking and a beautiful picnic area for those hardcore picnickers in spring. For those not so hardcore you may want to visit The Flying Horse for a light bar meal, or something a bit more filling.
Running parallel to the A6 on the A600 you have the impressive Chicksands Woods close to the former Chicksands RAF base. These woods are alive with activity all year round with the popular bike course and its frequent events in the heart of the woods. The rest of the woods is free to roam at your leisure through gently swaying seas of bluebells. It’s worth mentioning that all woods so far are very dog friendly, as is the nearby 16th Century Stone Jug Pub back in Clophill.
The Lodge, RSPB Sandy
Just off the A1 and past Sandy town is the well-known Lodge Nature Reserve and Gardens. Home to hundreds of different species of birds and other wildlife, these expansive grounds also offer a small self-service café area for hot drinks but it’s recommended you pack a picnic if you plan to stay and eat in the well laid out picnic area. It’s worth noting that whilst dogs are allowed this is a nature reserve and they must be kept on the bridleways to prevent disturbing the local wildlife.
Moggerhanger Park & Gardens
Head over the A1 in the opposite direction to Sandy and you have the Moggerhanger Park off the A603. This Grade 1 listed Georgian Historic House set in 33 acres of parkland and woodland prides itself on its beautiful woodland walks and you will often find a fun theme for children to follow with little hidden ornaments and oddities hiding in the woods waiting to be found. Moggerhanger already pride themselves on their snowdrop walk but the bluebells never fail to add a flourish of colour in April time. Why not add to the day and treat yourself to one of their delicious cream teas, you’ll be glad you did.
Forest of Marston Vale
Let’s switch things up a bit and give you not one but 10 community woods that come together to form the Forest of Marston Vale which covers 61 square miles. Readers reliably inform us that they have enjoyed many walks through the Cranfield and Kempston woodlands in bluebell season. There is so much to see in the forest that you’d need a while day, or two to cover it all. Fortunately, at the heart of the forest is the Forest Centre with a popular Lakeside Café serving hot and cold food and gluten free cakes too.
Grafham Water & Perry West Woods
Grafham Water has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for over 30 years. Our western end features a 280 acre nature reserve and is home to ancient woodlands, Perry West Wood being one of them. Like the Forest of Maston Vale this is a nature destination you might want to earmark for several visits throughout the year to fully appreciate everything it has to offer but for bluebell woods focus on the west side of Grafham Water and head to the ancient woodlands for a bit more solitude and tranquillity wrapped in a quilt of blue flowers. Once you’ve had your fill of nature at it’s best then head over to the water park and tuck into a treat from the Visitor Centre Café or Harbour View Café & Bar.
For more information on local events, places to visit and things to do why not check out our Facebook Page or Groups dedicated to your county Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk. Those dog lovers out there would be barking mad not to join our Doglife Group and vegan’s, you’ll be pleased we have one dedicated to you too.