Where to see Bluebells in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean
As winter finally fades away we are being rewarded with one of the best signs of the arrival of spring with the appearance of the iconic bloom of bluebells. The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean is home to some of the most spectacular shows of these beautiful flowers in the country and visitors from across the UK and abroad eagerly await their return each year and the please of seeing the stunning carpets of blue that can be found deep in the Forest or even viewed from the road while driving.
The bluebells are usually at their best in the Forest of Dean during late April and early May, but the timing depends very much upon the weather. They have also been known to show about two weeks earlier in the Wye Valley.
Bluebells are found in oak or other deciduous woodland; the big coniferous woods are too dark for them. There are plenty of breathtaking vistas to choose from in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley and below we have put together our guide to some of the best places to see them:
Soudley and the Dean Heritage Centre
From The Dean Heritage Centre you can discover a magical walk through beautiful woodlands. From Soudley drive a little further north to Bradley Hill past Blackpool Bridge. Take time to admire the carpet of blue under the coppice of trees as you reach the old Roman road. Continue on to Wenchford and you’ll be rewarded with a lagoon of bluebells.
Tintern Abbey and Brockweir
One of the most famous bluebell views has to be from Brockweir Wood. The valley rolls down to the striking ruins of Tintern Abbey and rises once again into seas of blue on the opposite fields. Bluebells in the Wye Valley tend to be out a couple of weeks before their Forest counterparts.
St Briavels Castle
Built in the early 12th century, St Briavels was an important royal castle on the frontier with Wales before becoming a crossbow bolt factory in the reign of Edward I. Now a youth hostel, it makes a fantastic starting point for walks in the surrounding woodland which becomes a riot of blue from the end of April.
Before heading down to Parva Farm Vineyard for a tipple, be sure to explore Coed Beddick, the woodland that overlooks the vines.
In the heart of the Forest of Dean, Beechenhurst makes the perfect base for exploring. Surrounded by unspoilt woodland, and the start of the famous Sculpture Trail, Beechenhurst is just the spot to set up a picnic and enjoy the blankets of blue all about you.
The perfect place to enjoy a cream team with a view; Speech House Hotel is nestled in beautiful woodland. Take your tea as you overlook the ancient forest, bursting with spring colours, at its borders. The Cyril Hart Arboreturm and Speech House Woodland next door are also perfect spots for bluebell walks.
Enjoy the blooms on two wheels along the cycle trail from Speech House to the beautiful Cannop Ponds. Wander along the water’s edge surrounded with trees sheltering a carpet of bluebells.
Though worth the walk all-year-round, Symonds Yat in spring is something to behold. With the canopy still budding, you can look down into the Wye Valley and spot bluebell woods for miles around.
Lydney Park Gardens
As well as boasting gorgeous gardens, Lydney Park Estate has evidence of settlements dating back to 100BC, a Norman castle and extensive ruins of a Roman camp including a Roman temple. Over time many impressive, exotic and rare trees have been planted in the Deer Park by successive generations of owners while the rich earth of the eight-acre woodland garden provides one of the most spectacular shows of bluebells around. Only open from April-June each year.
Visible from many points around the Forest of Dean, May Hill is a well-known landmark with a distinctive clump of trees on its peak. Commanding views from the brow of the hill reveal swathes of bluebells on its slopes. Why not go there on May Day to watch the sunrise and the morris men dance?