Bluebells in ancient semi-natural woodland

The Woodland Trust tells us about ancient semi-natural woodland here in Britain. These woods are precious and irreplaceble.

If you’re in Britain, where’s your local ancient woodland? I’ve just realised that I’m not sure of my own answer to that. Thanks to my fellow blogger Rachel at Ecology Escapades, today I notice that the wood just across the valley from my home may be ancient. I think that because it’s full of bluebells which are an indicator species for ancient woodland.

The bluebells are so gorgeous when they carpet that wood in spring that I know people who always take a picnic there to enjoy the scene. When the season comes around, a few weeks from now, I hope to find out whether the bluebells there are the native English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), the naturalised Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) or hybrids between them.

The Royal Horticultural Society tells us that both blubell species can be invasive weeds. I’ve waged war on them in gardens. But they’re so pretty, aren’t they? A good example of a weed being simply a plant in a place where it’s not welcome. The bluebells are welcome in my local wood.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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7 Responses to Bluebells in ancient semi-natural woodland

  1. Aaaahh, this post makes me wistfully remember this beautiful wood where I used to live when I was a young child. Every Spring the entire forest floor would become an edible carpet of wild garlic, then this would give rise to a sea of gorgeous bluebells and then finally primroses in the Summer. It was such a beautiful place and the best playground ever! For so many reasons, I agree our ancient and semi-ancient woodlands are precious and hugely valuable..

  2. Kaye Brennan says:

    Thanks for sharing this argylesock 🙂 I can’t wait either to start seeing bluebells and the buds on trees starting to burst as spring finally gets here… You can find your nearest woods on, a great partnership website that’s helping people find all the woods that are open to visit and accessible near where you live (and it really needs more content uploading, do send your photos in after you visit!)

    • argylesock says:

      Thank you! I’ll look up that website and add it to my blog’s links.

      You probably don’t know that I’m disabled. Multiple sclerosis has robbed this outdoorsy person of many things, including my hillwalking and some of my gardening. This year, I hope to explore some wheelchair-accessible woods and gardens. I find that the National Trust is very good in that way.

  3. Pingback: First International Forest Day | Science on the Land

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