Bluebells in the Downs
Did you know that the South Downs has more woodland than any other National Park in England or Wales?
The soils in our ancient woodlands have been left undisturbed for hundreds of years, allowing great mobs of bluebells to thrive.
Here’s our list of the best spots to see bluebells in the South Downs.
Great Wood, Stanmer Park
This ancient wood is surprisingly close to the edge of Brighton.
Stanmer Park is a short walk from Falmer train station and a regular stop for buses running between Brighton & Lewes.
Butchers Wood, Hassocks
An ancient oak wood, managed by the Woodland Trust, which sits behind the downs on the weald.
Just a fifteen minute walk from Hassocks station, if you’re travelling north you can enjoy the bluebells on your right just before the train pulls in.
There are many woods in this National Trust estate where you’ll enjoy a stunning display of bluebells but don’t forget to look out for other spring flowers too!
The Compass 85/85A bus stops nearby, see the National Trust website for details.
Stansted Park Estate
Nestled between Chichester and Portsmouth, Stansted is a former Royal hunting ground that has played host to Henry II and Richard the Lionheart.
Public footpaths and permissive paths surround and cross the woodlands here.
Visit the Estate’s website to find out more, including how to get there.
Another National Trust site where you can find plenty of bluebells, both in the formal gardens and surrounding woodland.
Buses connect the site with train stations at Winchester and Petersfield.
Forestry England’s Forest of Bere includes woodland, open spaces, heathland, farmland and downland. Find bluebells under the mature beech trees of Upperford Copse.
Cycle or walk there along the Meon Valley Way shared path.
Bluebells are spectacular but don’t forget to look out for other spring woodland flowers whilst you’re there.
The early purple orchid Orchis mascula is one of the first to flower, you can recognise it by the dark spots on its leaves.
You’ll likely smell the leaves of Ramsoms Allium ursinum, better known as wild garlic, before you see it. I also love wood-sorrel, Oxalis acetosella, with its delicate white flowers with distinctive veins.