New Forest Bluebells & Breakfasts Trail
The beautiful wash of colour as a sea of bluebells covers the woodland floor is a long-awaited sight which paints the picture of Spring in the New Forest.
The vibrant mix of beech-leaf green and purple/blue on a sunny day makes the perfect backdrop to the first break of the season, by following the Bluebells & Breakfasts Trail.
Scented scenery wakes the senses after the Winter greys and the taste of the renowned New Forest Breakfast is the ideal accompaniment to start the day early and catch the morning light on the shimmering bells.
The New Forest Breakfast is as environmentally friendly as its natural setting. Not only has it been developed by New Forest chefs to include all the best ingredients the region has to offer - often free range or organic - but it cuts down on food miles and Co2 emissions, as well as helping to support wildlife with traditional farming methods. Even the New Forest Marque bread is grown, milled and baked locally. Guaranteed to be made from at least three items of local produce, the breakfast is served at bed & breakfasts, hotels and attractions throughout the New Forest.
Download the New Forest Bluebells and Breakfast Trail and with sustenance inside you, head for the best New Forest National Park sites for bluebells at:
1. Pondhead Inclosure, a well-fenced area near Lyndhurst which is protected from roaming stock and wild deer.
2. Broomy Inclosure, north of Linwood.
3. Exbury Gardens and its Summer Lane approach - a two-mile drive with bluebell drifts - is particularly popular. On May 17, the attraction is offering privately guided breakfast walk to view the carpets of bluebells with head gardener John Anderson for £25.00 and is full of Spring colour with the famous Rothschild rhododendron, azalea and camellia collections.
4. Roydon Woods near Brockenhurst, which is owned by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and has plenty of good vantage points.
5. Sandleheath, near Fordingbridge, has a network of public footpaths and bridleways bordered by primroses and bluebells in the Spring.
Cycling is a good way to see bluebells during May. The cycle route between New Park, Brockenhurst and Bank is especially good.
It is the time of year for the New Forest to come alive and start working its magic, which will last for return visits throughout the Summer, with longer, warmer days to enjoy all it has to offer.
Bluebells flower throughout April and May. The glossy green leaves appear in March and carpet the ground. The flowers appear in April and eventually stand about 30cm tall with bell-shaped flowers. Bluebell flowering times can be used as a powerful evidence of climate change, which is why the Natural History Museum launched a survey to build a nationwide picture of when both native and non-native species start flowering each year.
The New Forest has 34 square kilometres of broad-leaved inclosures, where bluebells flourish under the canopy of trees.
Bluebell is also the name of a New Forest pony. The New Forest's 3,000 ponies, which are owned by New Forest commoners, are allowed to roam freely and are recognised by their combination of colour, markings and brand by owners who are determined to keep their breed pure.