Top 5 Blue Bell Beauty Spots
I felt like a mole coming out of hibernation, all squinty eyed – cue reach for the designer shades. However, it felt like my duty to confirm the arrival of Spring by tracking down the best Blue Bell Beauty spots in Norfolk.
We’re so lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods in our area, so here are my top 5 and nearby cheeky pit stops to grab and drink and a bite.
Home to the largest ancient woodland in Norfolk, Foxley Wood is a magical sight when the woodland is carpeted with brightly-coloured bluebells. There are signposted walks and wildlife a plenty, so definitely worth a visit.
Open 10am to 5pm all year round (closed Thursdays), free parking available, no dogs allowed.
Pit Stop: The Fox, Lyng
Allegedly the setting of 16th Century Fable – Babes in the Wood, Wayland Wood lies just outside Watton – where yours truly grew up. As a child the scary fable kept us out of the woods for years, so I never got to experience the blue bell wonder – thanks mum!
However, walking around the densely packed trees on a winter’s afternoon it’s easy to believe there’s some truth in the dark tale. The reality (here’s the science bit) is that the wood’s thickness is down to the traditional coppicing woodland management techniques used to benefit wildlife. The wood has a recorded history going back to the 10th century.
Open dawn to dusk every day, parking available, no dogs allowed
Pit Stop: The Willow House, Watton
To celebrate the return of the bluebells, Blickling Hall will be lit up blue for a whole month. There’s lots of other great bluebell themed activities through out the month, including the 4 mile circular-walk to the Great Wood where you will see the incredible ‘blue carpet’ of bluebells. Learn more about the flowers on the guided bluebell walks – 26, 27 and 28 April from 10am. The Blue Festival will culminate with an afternoon of music in the garden on Sat 26 May, 3pm – 7pm. Music from Zingaro Blue, Hot Cold Ground and Bass Tree String Band.
The gardens at Blickling are open 10am to 5.30pm and the parkland is open from dawn to dusk
Pit Stop: The Buckinghamshire Arms, Blickling
Just 2.5 miles north-east of North Walsham lies Bacton Wood. Walkers can choose from three waymarked walks and can hope to see over 30 species of tree in addition to bluebells in the spring months.
Whether you’re taking a gentle stroll, bike ride or on horseback, visitors can enjoy the tranquillity of Bacton Wood. While enjoying the bluebells, keep an eye out for two sessile oaks which are over 200 years old.
Open dawn to dusk, parking is available off the B1159 between Bacton and North Walsham, dogs on leads are welcome
Pit Stop: Sugar & Spice Cafe, Bacton
Various marked trails take you through the beautiful woodland gardens and along the coastal path running through Sheringham Park. Now, I don’t profess to being much of a plant lover but even I was amazed by the shear number of rhododendrons, azaleas and bluebells.
Just outside the seaside towns of Cromer and Sheringham, there’s plenty to keep you busy for the day. We felt energetic and cycled along the coastal path from Kellingheath Holiday Park to Sheringham Park. Another mile or so onto Sheringham town for a bit of beach, arcades and fish and chip action, then we caught the steam train (bikes safely loaded in the luggage carriage) back to Kellingheath, phew!
Open dawn to dusk, parking available and dogs welcome.
Pit Stop: The Ship Inn, Weybourne