• Walking

10 best bluebell walks

Published on 11 min read


There’s no denying that spring is one of the best times to get out and about. Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are one of the most iconic spring flowers and you can usually find them in April and May. We’ve rounded up some of the best short bluebell walks across Britain where you’re guaranteed to find these beautiful lilac flowers.

Follow the below links to OS Maps for detailed routes and paper maps for each bluebell walk. Discover more walking trails, or plot your own with a free trial of OS Maps, on us!

Beautiful bluebells

Beautiful bluebells

1. Parkhill Inclosure bluebell loop

Parkend, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Parkhill Inclosure bluebell loop

Distance: 2.3 miles / Time: under an hour

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: free parking in Parkend village, GL15 4JF

Starting in the village of Parkend, this walk loops around the Parkhill Inclosure, one of the oldest enclosures in the historic Forest of Dean. Now a peaceful Forestry England managed woodland, it was once bustling with industrial history and the area surrounding Parkend was involved in the Dean Forest Riots in the Industrial Revolution. More information on the riots and the heritage in the area can be found on Parkend village website or you can enjoy the Bream Heritage Walk.

Parkhill Inclosure bluebells 

Parkhill Inclosure

In spring time this walk shows the very best of English Woodland. Keep your eyes peeled for “Humbugs” baby wild boar, young fawns and tiny lambs who all live wild in this woodland. Through the woodland wild garlic and bluebells cover the forest floor. Parking is free within Parkend village. The village also has two pubs, and coffee available at the Post Office or Dean Forest Cycles. Add to your day with a visit to the Dean Forest Railway, a steam railway ending in Parkend village. The Forest of Dean has lots of wild animals who call it their home, with that in mind, please keep dogs under control.

Recommended by Laura from the OS Team.

2. Hackfall Woods bluebell walk

Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire

Hackfall woods bluebell walk

Distance: 1.3 miles / 40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Hackfall Woodland Trust car park. Nearest post code HG4 3BU. Charges may apply.

Expect the unexpected hidden amidst the trees at Hackfall, a wooded river gorge near to Ripon in North Yorkshire. Enjoyable walks weave through oak, beech, sycamore and lime trees on paths bright with bluebells in spring and early summer. Deeper into the woods the magic awaits, with fairy-tale follies, spooky grottos and ornate temples to explore, all the creations of Hackfall’s 18th-century owners the Aislabie family. Further on, set centre stage in a large pond decorated with water lilies, is a hand-pumped waterfall. Kids love to try their hand at pumping, sending the water shooting up to the leafy canopy overhead.

Hackfall woods 

Hackfall woods

There are several waymarked walks at Hackfall ranging from 0.75 miles (1.2km) to 4.5 miles (7.2km) – leaflets are available at the car park – but really there’s endless scope for exploring. The pretty village of Grewelthorpe, across a couple of fields to the south, is home to a charming community café. Sit outside in the little walled garden in the sunshine and enjoy the views over tea and cake.

Walk taken from the book ‘100 Great Walks with Kids’ by OS Champions Jen & Sim Benson.

3. Staveley bluebell woods walk

Staveley, Lake District

Staveley bluebell woods walk

Distance: 3.4 miles / Time: 1.5 hours return

Difficulty: Leisurely

Parking: Staverley Mill Yard, LA8 9LR – conditions apply

This gentle walk takes in the hidden gem of Dorothy Farrer Spring Wood Nature Reserve, which consists of three areas of oak woodland, rich in mosses, ferns and liverworts. Bluebells and wild garlic carpet the wood in the spring and both pied and spotted flycatchers and redstarts are seen. Just a short walk from the village of Staveley, the woods are more easily accessible than popular displays like Rannerdale Knotts and you will most likely have an equally mesmerising carpet of blue all to yourself.

Dorothy Farrer Spring Wood Nature Reserve bluebells

Dorothy Farrer Spring Wood Nature Reserve

You could easily combine or extend the walk to take in the quiet nearby fells or Kentmere Round. There is free parking available at The Mill Yard for 2 hours, after this you must get a ‘green frog’ pass from one of the businesses on the yard (which are well worth a post-walk coffee) and there is also on-street free parking in the village and further up by the weir on the road towards Kentmere.

Recommended by OS Champion Alex Staniforth. Follow Alex on Instagram.

4. Arger Fen & Spouse’s Vale bluebell walk

Leavenheath, Essex/Suffolk border

Arger Fen & Spouse’s Vale bluebell walk

Distance: 1 mile / Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Arger Fen & Spouse’s Vale Car Park, CO8 5BN

Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale is a fascinating mosaic of ancient woodland alongside fen meadow and regenerating woodland. A brilliant family-friendly and dog-friendly nature reserve. It’s best to visit in spring when you will be greeted with a fabulous display of bluebells accompanied by the magical song of woodland birds. Listen out for black cap, whitethroat and willow warbler. There are four designated trails to explore the reserve via, as well as public footpaths linking to the surrounding countryside. This reserve is also one of only a few ancient woodlands in Suffolk with wild cherry.

Arger Fen and Spouse's Vale bluebell

Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale walk

Please contact Suffolk Wildlife Trust on 01473 890089 for wheelchair and mobility buggy access to the reserve. Parking can be found in the Wildlife Trust car park but is limited. If the car park is full, you can park in the nearby village of Leavenhealth and use a public footpath to the reserve. Please do not park on the road verges.

Recommended by OS GetOutside Champion Charlotte Ditchburn. Follow Charlotte on Instagram.

5. Rushall Farm bluebell loop

Bradfield, West Berkshire

Rushall Farm bluebell loop

Distance: 4.5 miles / Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Laybys nearby or at the bottom of the lane where walk starts.

I have such fond memories of being shown the bluebells here when I was a child! This bluebell walk takes you through Rushall Farm’s woods, which are a vibrant shade of lilac during bluebell season. Along with bluebells, you’ll also see the cutest lambs playing in the fields surrounding the woods. After wandering through Rushall Farm, the route takes you to the River Pang. If it’s warm you can even wade into the shallow area beside the bridge to refresh. Just make sure any young children are in sight if the water is flowing faster.

Rushall Farm bluebell walk

Rushall Farm bluebell walk

Walk along the river until you meet Bradfield College, which has beautiful buildings and grounds. Then, walk back to your car through a field which is usually home to families of sheep. If you’d like to make this route 5km instead, simply walking along Back Lane after coming out of Rushall Farm. It’s a quiet country road with plenty of space to keep out of the way of cars.

Recommended by Bethany from the OS Team.

Skirrid spring walk

6. Black Mountains, Wales

Skirrid spring walk

Distance: 3.8 miles / Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Parking: National Trust Car Park, NP7 8AP

This is my favourite spring walk. It starts with a beautiful walk through bluebell covered woodland, then up onto the ridge of the Skirrid to take in the views across the Black Mountains, Abergavenny and across to the Central Beacons. It has got a few steeper sections and can be boggy underfoot in places. Older children will love it. Unfortunately it isn’t suitable for those with limited mobility. You follow a clear track from the car park into woodland and then up the hill. It is steep but there are benches and places to pause, get your breath and listen to the birdsong.

Skirrid spring walk

Skirrid spring walk

Go through the gate at the top and turn left. That path will then take you through woodland and the bluebell glades. It’s a carpet of bluebells and the smell on a warm day is gorgeous. Then follow the path round to the north of the Skirrid and then pick up a clear path up to the ridgeline. You can then turn north up to the trig point, before following the ridge enjoying the amazing views and then returning through the gate down to the car park. This is a walk I make sure I do every spring.

Recommended by OS GetOutside Champion Phillipa Cherryson. Follow Phillipa on Instagram.

7. Grotto Copse & Sidown Hill walk

Basingstoke and Deane, Hampshire

Grotto Copse & Sidown Hill walk

Distance: 4.7 miles / Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Beacon Hill car park which makes a great few extra miles

Not long after the start of this walk you will pass through Grotto Copse, the floor of which is adorned with bluebells in spring. After this you make your way along the Wayfarers Walk, keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of Highclere Castle, the home of Downton Abbey, below you. The walk tracks across Sidown hill, before following bridleways back round to your start point.

Recommended by Laura from the OS Team.

8. Inchcailloch Island walk

Loch Lomond, Scotland

8. Inchcailloch Island walk

Distance: 1.9 miles / Time: one hour

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: you’ll arrive on foot by ferry or boat

Inchcailloch is a beautiful, tranquil island within Loch Lomond. It’s full of wildlife and in spring, carpets of bluebells line the island’s many walking trails. Inchcailloch is great for walking in any season and this short circular route takes you around the whole island and up to the view point (81m) where you will enjoy spectacular views across Loch Lomond. You’ll also pass a 13th century church dedicated to St Kentigerna and an ancient burial ground. Can you spot the grave of the Clan Chief of MacGregors?

 Inchcailloch Island walk

Inchcailloch Island walk. Credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

It’s not so hard to reach Inchcailloch as regular waterbuses run from Balmaha, Balloch and Luss or you can take a short ride on the Inchailloch Ferry from Balmaha to the North Pier on the island.

Learn more about Scotland’s best islands for day trips by VisitScotland.

Recommended by VisitScotland.

9. North Cliffe Wood walk

East Riding, Yorkshire

North Cliffe Wood walk

Distance: 1 mile / Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Limited parking in roadside laybys, YO43 4XE

This short circular route around North Cliffe Wood showcases the very best of this nature reserve. This small but beautiful woodland is home to many species of wildlife and in spring, an abundance of lilac bluebells. The wood is primarily made up of birch trees which make a great backdrop to the bluebells. There isn’t a designated car park (which adds to the tranquility!) but you can park on the layby nearby (limited to just a few cars). Better still,you could extend your walk by devising a route from a nearby village or car park.

North Cliffe Wood walk bluebells 

North Cliffe Wood walk

North Cliffe Wood is roughly 5km from the village of North Newbald where there is parking and a pub. Please note, dogs are not permitted in North Cliffe Wood as it is a nature reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust.

Recommended by Helen Newman from the OS team. Follow Helen on Instagram.

10. Outwoods bluebell walk

Charnwood, Leicestershire

Outwoods bluebell walk

Distance: 1.9 miles / Time: 45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Outwoods car park, LE11 3YG – charges apply, at time of writing just £1 for the day

Outwoods is an ancient woodland just south of Loughborough. There are a number of well-maintained paths suitable for the whole family and this particular route gives you a grand tour of this beautiful woodland. In spring, you’ll see shades of lilac amongst the trees as carpets of bluebells take over.

Outwoods bluebell walk

Shilpa Rasaiah and her mum

There’s a 24 hour car park, a play area, visitor centre and a café on site. Dogs are welcome but any waste should be disposed of in the correct manner. Many of the paths can be accessed by wheelchair users. You could also extend your walk to other nearby woodlands like Burleigh Woods, which also has bluebells.

Recommended by Shilpa Rasaiah from GetOutside Community. Join here.

Now you know some the best bluebell walks across Britain, you can head out and find your own. Woodlands are the most likely spots to find bluebells, but they do spread far and wide, so get outside (!) and find your nearest patch.

Remember to take care of the great outdoors and follow the Countryside Code at all times.

Liked by 1 users


Digital Maps

Use OS Maps to see more detail including footpaths, bridleways, cycle tracks and rights of way.

Use world-renowned Ordnance Survey mapping with unlimited use of every OS Explorer and OS Landranger map for the whole of Great Britain. That’s instant access to 607 maps to view, print, or download to your phone – all included in your subscription.

Launch OS Maps


OS Shop

Use OS Maps to see more detail including footpaths, bridleways, cycle tracks and rights of way.

Go to the shop