If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

My photo

I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

23 April, 2014

Bluebell: home thoughts from abroad

What can be more English than a bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) wood? If I was on a desert island and could have one picture to remind me of home then it would have to be of a carpet of bluebells spreading across the woodland floor under tall oak trees. I know I am not alone as visiting bluebell woods seems to be an obsession. In April the number of visits my website, the Nature of Dorset, gets increases dramatically as people
search out details of where they can find them.
The bluebell is primarily a species of lowland England and they are quite common in Dorset. There are areas (notably Pamphill, Hooke Park Wood and Duncliffe Wood) where they are quite stunning when at their best. However, you can also find bluebells on heathland, on cliff tops and by road sides although in these habitats you rarely get the full effect of a bluebell wood. In Scotland the name bluebell is used for what we know down south as the harebell.
A member of the lily family, bluebells (like their cousins, ramsons) are often a sign of ancient woodland as they rarely set seed and spread by multiplying their underground bulbs. The Spanish bluebell is often grown in gardens and where this is near a colony of our native bluebells hybridisation occurs and there is concern the native species may be lost in some areas. 
Sadly, the camera (well, mine anyway) seems to find it impossible to capture that certain something about bluebells! The colour is never quite right and obviously the scent is missing; if only I could paint!
Related Post: