Bluebells in bloom in Devon

Spotting a carpet of bluebells in a woodland is a highlight of any springtime walk in the countryside. During these uncertain times, while the places we care in Devon for are closed, let us bring the bluebells to you.

Adults and two children taking an autumn walk amongst the trees

Which places are open and what you need to know before you visit 

More than 100 gardens and parks and hundreds of coast and countryside places are open in England and Northern Ireland. Many historic houses are open in England. To avoid disappointment please book in advance, especially at weekends and school holidays. In line with Welsh Government legislation, all places in Wales will close from 24 October to 9 November. Please check the property webpage of the place you wish to visit before you travel. Read this article to find out how to book and what to expect from your visit.

A snapshot of bluebells in Devon

English bluebell, Hyacinthus non-scriptus, in the garden in May at Killerton, Devon

Can you tell your English bluebells from your Spanish?

The English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is striking, deep violet-blue, with tiny bell-shaped flowers which hang to one side of the stem (known as an influorescence). Spanish bluebells are very similar but their flowers hang around the stem, which grows straight upright.

" ...sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley..."
- Oscar Wilde
A pathway through a bluebell wood

Did you know?

Bluebells are delicate and easily damaged, especially if they’re trodden on. Damage can prevent the leaves from photosynthesizing, causing the plant to die back. Bluebells take between five and seven years to get established, so minor damage can have long-lasting impact. Help to look after the bluebells by watching where you tread, and sticking to marked pathways.

Bluebell woodlands

High energy bulbs that will light up your spring

Garden Adviser Ian Wright extols the magic of bluebells. 'To me bluebells are 'the' iconic flowers late spring. Watching our hedgerows and woodlands turn blue lifts the soul... and perhaps not surprisingly bluebells are also steeped in mystical folklore. Are fairies really summoned by the ringing of its bells? If you hear the bell does that mean your sudden demise? Or does wearing a wreath of flowers means you can only speak the truth?'

" Even the nineteenth-century Romantic poets Tennyson and Keats were under the spell of the bluebell, believing it symbolised regret and solitude. I say nonsense - this bulb is a true symbol of the fantastic beauty of nature. "
- Ian Wright, Gardens Adviser