Inside an ancient bluebell wood

Today was the annual Perivale Wood bluebell open day. Most of the year the wood is closed unless you are a member, but in April each year thousands of people come to enjoy the bluebells. This year a record 2023 visitors came to see their beautiful blues.

Bluebells, Perivale wood

Bluebells sign, Perivale Wood

Bluebells, Perivale wood

The Perivale wood website says “Perivale Wood is a typical English bluebell wood, with some 4-5 million flowers in spring. On a calm day in late April or May, the scent of the massed blooms is delightful. Bluebells are long-lived plants, lasting for 20 or more years, as long as the leaves are not trampled in spring, and each year the bulb grows larger; they only flower after several years, when the bulbs are large enough.”

White bluebells, Perivale wood

Bluebells are not always blue!

Bluebells, Perivale wood

Bluebells, Perivale wood

Bluebells, Perivale wood
Not all bluebells in the UK are our native bluebell. Some are Spanish or a Spanish/British hybrid. The Natural History Museum website explains:

“The easiest way to tell the difference between native and non-native bluebells is to look at the colour of the pollen.

If it is creamy-white then the bluebell is a native.  If it is any other colour, such as pale green or blue, then it is definitely not native.

When the pollen is shed, the empty anther can be a pale cream colour, so make sure you look at the most recently opened flowers at the top of the spike, to find the true colour of the pollen.”

The Perivale wood bluebells are native – a sign of an ancient woodland.

Popping up here and there amidst the bluebells were Greater stitchworts, a white flower that grows in hedgerows and woodland edges from May to August.

Greater stitchwort sign, Perivale wood

Bluebells and Greater stitchwort, Perivale wood

Greater stitchwort, Perivale wood

Greater stitchwort and bluebells, Perivale wood

There are even a few pink flowers – red campion?

Pink flower Red campion?, Perivale wood

Thanks to the organisers of the Perivale Wood open day for a grand time. As well as the bluebells, very good value food and drink was available, plus stalls and events like archery and morris dancing. It must have taken a lot of work to put together.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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28 Responses to Inside an ancient bluebell wood

  1. how cool is that would love to visit one day. thanks for sharing this spot 🙂


  2. clare1023 says:

    You should have come and said hello to Elsa and I !! Xx

    Sent from my iPad



  3. So envious of such a carpet of bluebells.


  4. donna213 says:

    So beautiful, Emily. That its quite the show of bluebell wildflowers. Spring is really wonderful this year, I bet bees are happy little buzzers.


  5. What a lovely magical place.


  6. Beautiful pictures! There’s something special about a bluebell wood in full flower.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. beatingthebounds says:

    Interesting to read about the bulbs growing for several years before producing flowers. One quite large bed in our garden is now absolutely full of bluebells, despite hardly having any when we moved here just over 9 years ago – maybe that’s why.


  8. amazing! I love these blue carpets on the forst floor ! 🙂


  9. fodrambler says:

    Lovely and yes that is Red Campion and the male of the species at that. I love the way that Stitchwort and Campion grow amongst the Bluebells and just when the Bluebells start to fade you will see the first blossoms on the bramble and begin to feel the heat of summer. It is all good for the bees.


    • Emily Scott says:

      Thanks for confirming that – and you can even tell its sex! The brambles are very handy for our bees. Plus we have green alkanet, forget-me-nots and white dead-head nettles.


  10. MerryBee says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely photos.
    Bluebell time is my favourite time of year.
    I am very fortunate that I just have to step out of my back gate into a beautiful bluebell wood.
    A couple of weeks ago there was a carpet of yellow white and blue with primroses, celandines, wood anemone, wood sorrell and dog violet. Now the bluebells have exploded into bloom dotted with white stitchwort and pink early purple orchid. It is a truly magical sight, and I know I am really lucky to have it on my doorstep


  11. Beautiful photographs, such a special place. I have planted bluebells under the trees at the bottom of the garden and ripped out the ivy that choked everything else. Perhaps one day there will be a carpet of bluebells. Amelia


  12. Ellen Hawley says:

    I was taking photos of the bluebells at Lanhydrock House, in Cornwall, and they were mixed in places with–oh, hell, it was either wild garlic or Cornish three-cornered leeks. Both make me long for a pizza, so I often forget which one I actually saw. Whichever it was, they made a beautiful combination.


  13. theresagreen says:

    Lovely images of one of the highlights of the natural year.


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