Words & Pictures by Elizabeth Dale
At this time of year the turning of the seasons heralds the arrival of one of our most enigmatic native flowers – the bluebell.
My obsession with photographing this flower began a few years ago when I discovered Enys Gardens, near Penryn. Here in spring time the meadows simply explode into colour. It really is a stunning sight on a sunny day.
It can be easy to take this little plant for grated when it is such a common sight in our gardens, hedgerows and parks, but after a long and dark winter what better way to celebrate the arrival of the sunny (hopefully) summer months than a day out to take in these little indigo beauties!
This is my guide to some of the best places in Cornwall to take in their calming splendour.
Enys Gardens, Penryn
Enys is considered the oldest formal garden in Cornwall, established in 1709. In April/May the park land around the house, known as Parc Lye, comes alive with bluebells. The story is that this ancient parc hasn’t been ploughed for centuries so the little bluebells blubs have had plenty of time to thrive. And what a sight they are!
You may have to go back a couple of times to catch them at their best but believe me it is well worth the effort! The Enys Bluebell Festival starts 29th April. http://www.enysgardens.org.uk/
Godolphin House, Helston
This 700 year old estate is tucked away in rolling countryside just a few miles from the little town of Helston. Owned by the National Trust this year their bluebell festival starts on April 17th and there are acres of peaceful woodland to explore and enjoy the carpet of flowers beneath the shady ancient trees.
Pencarrow House, Bodmin
The gardens here combination formal landscaping with natural woodland and in the spring there is a dazzling display of more than 600 varieties of camellias and rhododendrons in bloom. But one of the gardens best known attractions are the bluebells and wild garlic that simply carpet the woodland throughout spring. There is free parking here and dogs are welcome too.
Antony Woodland, Torpoint
Antony House at Torpoint was the setting for Tim Burton’s fantastical film Alice in Wonderland and beside this National Trust house is the privately owned Antony Woodland Garden. Here in spring a shaded area of trees known as the Cathedral becomes the stuff of daydreams where enchanting swathes of bluebells and wild garlic cover the ground, a really wonderful sensation for your senses.
With around 250 acres of woodlands and miles of footpaths to explore Tehidy is one of the largest area of woodland in Cornwall. Underneath the canopy of established native trees a whole variety of woodland plants and animals thrive and when the bluebells appear the scene becomes even more magical. This is a great natural playground for the young and the not so young to discover!
Find more of my writing about hidden Cornwall on my blog https://cornishbirdblog.wordpress.com/