Getting out in nature

May 20th 2014
By: Melanie Hollidge

One of the joys of not living in Central London is that you are living close enough to the city for work but close enough to the country to get out and enjoy it.  The Blue bells are out and a carpet of beautiful bluebells have been blooming for a while declaring that spring had well and truly arrived in Surrey and north-east Hampshire.  One of the good things about the cooler turn the weather has taken is that it is extending the blue bells life meaning we can get out and enjoy them for longer and gorgeous floral displays can be spotted in parks, gardens and woodlands across the south-east.
At Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming Surrey Michael Smyth declares: 'Bluebells herald spring and play as much a key part of our natural heritage as any other flower.”  It can be interesting to see if you can identify different species of bluebell, one you really want to look out for is the native bluebell.  Unfortunately the Spanish Bluebell, commonly grown in gardens, was introduced some time ago and is more vigorous than our native species and it can crossbreed with the native to create a fertile hybrid, Spanish blue bells are larger, more upright and have virtually no scent.

'The native species can be identified by its delicate scent, intense blue colour and flowers that droop down like a bell along one side of the stem.' Says Smyth.
In Surrey, you can enjoy a flowery scene at Hatchlands Park, near Guildford, Franks Wood at Leith Hill, Limpsfield Common near Oxted, or Gatton Park in Reigate.  To enjoy a stunning scene of bluebells in north-east Hampshire, head to Yateley Common or Rowhill Nature Reserve.