Five of the best bluebell walks in East Devon
PUBLISHED: 10:04 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:37 24 April 2019
Picture: Alex Walton Photography
Take a stroll among the bluebells and enjoy one of the magical sights of springtime in east Devon
There's something special about bluebells. Up close, the small flowers with their long stems and gently drooping heads look almost impossibly delicate; from further away, a large expanse of blue and violet bluebells creates a very different effect: hazy, mirage-like, almost shimmering.
Around half the world's bluebells are found in the UK; they are relatively rare in other countries. They also take a long time to become established, and this is why many of the places where they grow wild in large numbers are ancient woodlands, steeped in history.
A springtime walk in late April or early May, when the bluebells are in bloom, is a lovely way to spend time in the countryside. But don't be tempted to dig up or even pick the wild flowers: doing so is actually illegal. It's important not to even tread on them, as this can cause the plants to die back.
Here are some of the best bluebell walks in East Devon:
Salcombe Hill, Sidmouth: Plenty of bluebells to be seen on the route of the walk through National Trust land along the South West Coast Path, which also offers beautiful views across Sidmouth Bay. Parking available at National Trust car park. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sidmouth-countryside/trails/salcombe-hill-to-sidmouth-circular-walk
Killerton, near Exeter: You'll find bluebells In the shade of the conifers in the main garden, along the pathways in the grounds of the Chapel, or further out at Columbjohn Woods or at The Clump. The usual National Trust admission fees apply, but there is plenty more to see and explore: the Georgian house, its gardens and parkland. There is also a restaurant and café. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/killerton
Blackbury Camp, near Sidmouth. Some wonderful expanses of bluebells in this old hill fort, an English Heritage site, which also offers plenty of level walking and areas where children can run around. Parking available nearby. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/blackbury-camp
A la Ronde, Exmouth. You won't see great carpets of blue here, but there are patches of bluebells among the other spring flowers in the garden of this quirky 18th-century, 16-sided house. Licensed café with outdoor seating. National Trust admission fees apply. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/a-la-ronde
Holyford Woods, Colyton, near Seaton. One of the oldest woodlands in England, this is a nature reserve with plenty of wildlife, a sunken stream – and plenty of bluebells. In fact, it celebrates Bluebell Day on May 6, with free expert-led walks and family activities. No nearby car park, but you can leave your vehicle at the Seaton Down picnic site and walk from there. http://www.holyfordwoods.org.uk/