A lot of wild flowers are a bit confused at the moment. A warm winter without any prolonged cold snaps led to a bit of a false start in February. But since then the weather has struggled for sunshine and real warmth so blooms such as magnolia haven’t hit their stride. I’ve seen individual bluebells flowering since early February but now we are on the cusp of the great transformation of the woods. At Downe Bank last week things seemed particularly advanced though the bluebells won’t be at their best I reckon until the final weekend of April. Here’s a reminder of the best walks for bluebells on this site.
1 Ide Hill-Toy’s Hill circular walk via Emmett’s Gardens.
Here, bluebells are everywhere. Especially brilliant in Ide Hill NT woods and on the south-facing slope of Emmetts Gardens.
You can easily extend the walk into the woods above Shoreham (Meenfield wood and Pilot wood) to the west, as far as Andrews wood on the other side of the boggy little valley for great bluebell vistas. Lots of paths bring you back to Shoreham via Meenfield wood.
At Point 3, instead of turning right towards Downe House, turn left on the path that heads down into woods (in to the valley between Downe and Cudham – an area called Downe Bank, which also contains some orchid varieties). The bluebells here are amazing. In fact every little copse around Downe, Biggin Hill and Cudham has spectacular seas of blue.
Both of the One Tree Hill walks passing Ightam Mote on this site will shortly have great bluebell displays, along with wild garlic.
5 Closer to London
Closer to London, the National Trust woodland at Petts Wood/Hawkwood has some great swathes of blue. Enter the wood from the entrance under the railway line at the intersection of Towncourt Crescent and Birchwood Road and take the second path on the left and you’ll soon be in the realm of the bluebells (in Edlmann Memorial wood) after passing through a grove of sweet chestnut trees. I’m sure there will be some bluebells in Sydenham woods and Beckenham Place Park too but a bit more patchy.