Bluebells

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I have been stunned by the bluebells. I don’t remember them growing up in Northumberland and I always assumed that the classic photo of them – a rich purple carpet fitted around the trees and stretching off into the wood – was the careful composition of a photographer working with a small, rare patch of flowers.

Not so. At least, not in West Somerset. This year, I see bluebells every time I leave the house. If I walk the dog near woodland, then we find a sea of bluebells worthy of any professional photoshoot. It feels indulgent and almost embarrassing for nature to put on such a luxuriant display.

I walked last week from Monksilver up Bird Hill towards Ralegh’s Cross. The path ascends through thick woodland with only an occasional glimpse through the branches across to Minehead and the South Wales coast. And for almost a mile, the path was flanked by a wide stream of bluebells on both sides, stacking up on the hill to the left and flowing down among the trees to the right. It’s by far the largest display I’ve seen, and as with most of the beautiful walks around here, I had it completely to myself. Well, apart from the dog.

I still love cut flowers in the house, but it does seem little silly to pay for a few stems that last only a week when the countryside is lavishing waves of primroses, wild garlic flowers and bluebells on every hedgerow and under every tree.

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