Carpets of colour

Barmy about bluebells? April through to May is the best time to see carpets of blue in Berkshire’s woodlands. I’ve drawn up the hot spots for you to enjoy as they are out now and only last a few weeks.

If you think there is a horrific omission, a crime against nature no less, let me know and I’ll put it on the list and if you visit any of the places I suggest, please let me know your thoughts! Right then (*gulp*), here we go.

At Basildon Park just ask at the visitor centre for the best places to spot them around the grounds. There are number of walks you can enjoy of varying lengths. So if you have little Mudders the National Trust staff will point you in the right direction and the best  routes to take. Word on the ground, the flowers are nearly all out, so pop along over the next couple of weeks to see them at their beautiful best.

Cliveden, Taplow

We say Berkshire (*ahem* some say Buckinghamshire), but who cares, right? We can share the border and the beautiful Cliveden with our county neighbours. Particularly as there is more than enough it to go around. Enjoy miles of woodland paths and the carpet of bluebells on the woodland floor. The many paths mean that the flowers don’t get trampled and you get the full effect regardless of the many visitors.

Pope’s Meadow, Bracknell

Pope’s Meadow, names after Binfield’s most famous resident – the 18th century poet and philosopher Alexander Pope, is a Green Flag Award winning site and has a small wooded copse full of bluebells. You never know, it might even inspire you write poetry too. At Binfield Road in Bracknell are The Three Copses (Temple Copse, Tinker’s Copse and Jock’s Copse ) – hazel coppice woodlands full of bluebells with a handy circular walk through them.

Moor Copse in Tidmarsh (between Theale and Pangbourne) is an area of tranquil woodland surround by a patchwork of meadows and pastures set in the heart of the Pang Valley. There’s a free guided tour on Saturday 29 April, 2.30pm-4.30pm to see the bluebells, early purple orchids and cowslips at their very best. It’s a 2-mile stroll, but the paths can get a bit muddy in places, so sandals and heel are probably not a good idea.

Ding dong, perfect bluebell, pic by John Chapman

The Warburg Nature Reserve in Henley is holding a gentle guided stroll around the reserve to see the bluebells, other wild flowers and all the signs of spring on Saturday 29 April, 10am to 12noon, £4 per person.

Bowdown Woods, Newbury

Bowdown Woods just south of Newbury is a magical ancient wood that stretches from the vast heathland at Greenham Common down to the River Kennet and is full of hidden valleys, sunny glades and patches of heathland with bluebells at every turn. The Wildlife Walk takes in some damp clay areas on the lower slopes and steep climbs up to higher, drier ground.

Also worth visiting: Chazey Wood, within the Mapledurham estate. Highwood, Woodley with its mixture of lowland woodland and heathland which used to be part of the grounds of Woodley Lodge. The Coombe, Streatley, has an abundance of bluebells in the spring. Cayfield Copse, Caversham has a lovely woodland walk suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Berkshire