Discover the Bluebells at Hinton Ampner

Bluebells in full bloom in a spring woodland

Spring has arrived and what better way to experience it than with the sight and scent of bluebells in Hinton Ampners ancient woodland

Experience a sea of blue at Hinton Ampner

From early to mid May, the ancient woodlands of Hinton Ampner are carpeted with swathes of bluebells, easily one of the finest spring displays in the South East. 

Tantalise your senses with the vibrant blue and purple hues, the unmistakeable perfumed scent rising from the woodland floor. 

The woodlands where the bluebells are located are part of the 4 mile Dutton estate walk which takes 2.5 hours to complete. By doing the walk in reverse, the bluebells can be reached within 30 minutes. 

Please note that there are a few gates around the estate walks, please call in advance and speak to a member of the team if you have access requirements to discuss a suitable route. 

How you can play a part in protecting the bluebells

A gorgeous spread of bluebells is an irresistible sight in spring. To show our appreciation, it’s the most tempting thing in the world to step into the blue for a photo opportunity, but your feet could be doing more damage than you realise. 

Stepping on the leaves damages them, meaning that they are unable to absorb the sun and photosynthesise so they die back. In turn, this means they can’t put food back into their bulbs, reducing their ability to produce flowers and seeds, therefore affecting how many bluebells flower the following spring. 

Enjoy them with respect

Bluebells are an important and essential part of our natural heritage, a welcome sign that spring is well under way and the warmer days of summer are not far off.  As long as we treat them with respect, we’ll be able to enjoy our blue woodlands for many years to come. 

Hinton Ampner's woodland is covered with bluebells as far as the eye can see
Bluebell Woods at Hinton Ampner
Hinton Ampner's woodland is covered with bluebells as far as the eye can see

A special part of spring

With over half the global population of bluebells flowering in UK woods, Britain’s beautiful blue spring is a quintessential part of our native landscape. And the National Trust is one of the most important organisations in the UK for bluebells - a quarter of the Trust's woodland is ancient or semi-natural; the ideal habitats for bluebells to flourish. Bluebells normally appear in late April and early May. 

Our native bluebells have quite a lot to contend with, not least the invasive and more hardy Spanish bluebell, introduced to our gardens around 300 years ago. Over the years these have spread more widely and begun to hybridise with native flowers, producing tougher plants with dominant genes. 

The main visible difference between the varieties is that native bluebells are slightly smaller, have narrow leaves, drooping heads, a violet bell-shaped flower and a delicate but distinctive fragrance. Spanish bluebells are wider-leaved, stand erect and have no scent. Their flowers have less of a bell and are a more ‘hyacinth’ blue.