Bluebells 2015

Bluebells 2015

(Read latest bluebell piece for 2020, here) The bluebells, as I write on April 26, are in full swing. They generally love moist, even swampy ground in sun-dappled woodland (so coppiced trees are very good) and south-facing slopes where the drainage isn’t great. The best places for walking amid bluebells – of the walks on this website – are:

1 Ide Hill-Toy’s Hill circular walk via Emmett’s Gardens. Here, bluebells are everywhere. Especially brilliant on the south-facing slope of Emmett’s Gardens.

2 Shoreham circular – extend the walk into the woods above Shoreham to the west, as far as Andrews Wood for great bluebell vistas.

3 Downe circular – 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.

Other superb displays can be seen at One Tree Hill (1km south east of Knole Park), near Sevenoaks. Then, and closest to SE London, there is Petts Wood/Hawkwood. For the latter, 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 chestnuts.

Big trouble (sort of) in little Downe

Downe is a quiet village with a big history but it’s home to Nigel Farage’s two local pubs, both of which are pretty decent places for a drop. So, the Ukip leader was ousted from his Sunday lunch in the Queen’s Head last Sunday (22 March) by the Beyond Ukip Cabaret Group who had originally hired the George and Dragon‘s function room (without revealing the nature of their booking).

Having been tipped off that Farage was eating 200 metres down the road at the Queen’s Head, the group speedily headed there. No one likes deserting a family Sunday lunch so I guess what started off as a good humoured affair might have turned a bit ugly. Usually Downe is full of cyclists and walkers at that time, many no doubt enjoying the bonus entertainment provided by the cabaret group, whose desire to represent diversity led them to appear like extras from some under-resourced global disaster movie.

The Downe circular walk

Anyway, let me just reassure you, dear readers, that EU flag-burning nights and torchlit processions behind smouldering Jean-Claude Juncker effigies remain unknown in Downe; it’s just a village dragged reluctantly into the limelight, for a few days only (hopefully).

Read accounts of the protest by a Guardian journalist who joined the cabaret group, and the riposte to his report from the Guardian-reading landlord of the Queen’s Head. Interestingly, many of the protestors have realised that the events were a bit of an own goal, given that Farage’s children and those of other diners in the pub were apparently terrified. To avoid deep depression about the future of the country, don’t read the comments.