Places to stay, things to do, good food and drink
One of the greatest pleasures of exploring the great British countryside is spotting the signs of spring and no site is more iconic than the bloom of bluebells. The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean is home to some of the most spectacular shows of these beautiful flowers in the country – and there are plenty of breath-taking vistas to choose from:
One of the most famous bluebell views has to be from Brockweir wood. The valley rolls down to the striking ruins of Tintern Abbey and rises once again into seas of blue on the opposite fields.
Built in the early 12th century, St Briavel’s was an important royal castle on the frontier with Wales before becoming a crossbow bolt factory in the reign of Edward I. Now a youth hostel, it makes a fantastic starting point for walks in the surrounding woodland which becomes a riot of blue from the end of April.
Before heading down to Parva Farm Vineyard for a tipple, be sure to explore Coed Beddick, woodland that overlooks the vines. Having bloomed early this year, the slopes of the hill are already a haze of blue.
In the heart of the Forest of Dean, Beechenhurst makes the perfect base for exploring. Surrounded by unspoilt woodland, and just a stone’s throw from the Sculpture Trail, Beechenhurst is just the spot to set up a picnic and enjoy the blankets of blue all about you.
The perfect place to enjoy a cream team with a view; Speech House Hotel is nestled in beautiful gardens. Take your tea as you overlook the ancient forest, bursting with spring colours, at its borders.
Enjoy the blooms on two wheels along the cycle trail from Speech House to the beautiful Cannop Ponds. Wonder along the water’s edge surrounded with trees sheltering a carpet of bluebells.
Though worth the walk all-year-round, Symonds Yat in spring is something to behold. With the canopy still budding, you can look down into the Wye Valley and spot bluebell woods for miles around.
As well as boasting gorgeous gardens, Lydney Park Estate has evidence of settlements dating back to 100BC, a Norman castle and extensive ruins of a Roman camp including a Roman temple.
Over time many impressive, exotic and rare trees have been planted in the Deer Park by successive generations of owners while the rich earth of the eight-acre woodland garden provides one of the most spectacular shows of bluebells around.
Follow the green arrow trail from Dean Heritage to discover a magical walk through the woodland of Soudley past Blackpool Bridge and up to Bradley Hill. Take time to admire the carpet of blue under the coppice of trees as you reach the old Roman road. Continue into the Wenchford picnic site and you’ll be rewarded with a practical lagoon of bluebells.
Visible from many points around the Forest of Dean, May Hill is a well-known landmark with a distinctive clump of trees on its peak. Commanding views from the brow of hill reveal swathes of bluebells on its slopes.