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We are on the cusp of the bluebell and wild garlic season.  Bristol has some spectacular bluebell woods and we will lead walks in them over the coming few weeks, so keep an eye on our newsletter..

My number one place for bluebells is Prior’s Wood in Portbury.  Really and truly this has to be one of the best bluebell woods in the country.  Every year I re-route one of my Tuesday 10am walks to visit it and, this year, I will also put on a special Friday Tyntesfield to Priors Wood circular walk.  This will enable you to see how to link two beautiful places, with the opportunity of a cup of tea and scone at the end! Click here for further details.

In the West Country, whenever I come across the iconic bluebell, I always find wild garlic as well.  In my next blog I will give some recipes from our instructor Patsy Warn for wild garlic pesto and a delicious soup.  In the meantime here are a few facts about bluebells which might interest you:

  • They are a member of the lily order (Hyacinthoides non-scripta is their latin name) and spread very slowly.  Because of this they are considered to be an indicator of ancient woodland sites, even if there are no longer trees there. 
  • Bluebells are steeped in folklore.  People used to believe that their bells rang out to summon fairies to their gathering and that any human who heard a bluebell ring would soon die.
  • The bluebell is a symbol of constancy and, as such, could be the origin of the ‘….something blue…’ that a bride should wear on her wedding day.
  • Bluebells are poisonous but their sap was used in the Bronze Age to attach feathers to (fletch) arrows and the Elizabethans crushed the bulbs to provide starch for their ruffs.

There are a couple of excellent, if small, bluebell sections in Ashton Court and we will incorporate these into our Nordic walking classes.  You can also find a handsome display of both bluebells and wild garlic in Leigh Woods, near the section called Paradise Bottom.  Again I will lead one of my Tuesday walks there in a few weeks time to view them.  Talking of Leigh Woods, the temporary art installation of five fishing boats, entitled ‘Withdrawn’ by Luke Jerram, is now in place.  It forms part of the 2015 European Green Capital programme and its aim is to raise awareness of the impact of over-fishing and marine pollution on the future of our planet and eco-system.  It’s all go here in Bristol!