At this time of year we are really lucky to get the chance to see woodlands overflowing with carpets of beautiful fresh Bluebells. Few can be more eyecatching than Knowlands Wood in Barcombe, which is on the doorstep of the Secret Campsite and alive with all sorts of wildlife including the demure carpet of wood anemones.

Bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta turn our often lifeless woodland floor, still recovering from the heavy autumn leaf fall, into a vivid blue haze of colour. This mesmerising azure hue is not disimilar to a soft mediterranean sky on a July morning.

photo Marie-Sophie Willis

This amazing annual transformation of the forest floor takes place beneath the emerging verdant canopy, just before the leaves on the trees shut out out all of the sunlight destined for the ground. The bluebells have to act fast to get the nourishment they need from the sun in order to complete their life cycle before the light is blocked out completely.

Its a race against time and we get all the benefits of this tussel between leaves and flowers. It’s one of our greatest forest plant spectacles and it probably explains why the bluebell is such a much loved English country flower

photo Marie-Sophie Willis

How can I enjoy blubells on my campig trip to The Secret Campsite?

Being located in East Sussex, the second most wooded county in England, The Secret Campsite has the huge benefit of numerous local woodlands. Some of these woods are filled with bluebells whlst others are home to the carpet of white wood anemones. Either way you can wile away hours at this time of year trapsing through the light, open woods, surrounded by a calming sea of blue.

Our favourite woods, on the doorstep of the campsite:

Knowlands Wood – a beautiful private nature reserve bordering the southern edge of the secret campsite as you head towards Barcombe. These woods have a beautiful tract of bluebells and large areas with whote wood anemones. If no bluebells are around they are great for killing time. Move about quietly and you’re very likely to see some of the deer, then head off to the Anchor Inn for some rowing and a great sunday lunch

Granthams Wood – a peaceful tract of ancient woodland 50 yards north of the campsite between Town Littleworth and Chailey. There is a beaitiful woodland edge path looking south towards the south downs national park. As yu g further into the woods the bluebells start to appear. but thats only if you make it past the fantatsic mushroom foraging. At certain times of the year the woodland edges are full of Ceps. This walk is a great preamble prior to a sunday lunch at The Five Bells in Chailey where the food is delicious.

Of course the other advantage to a bluebell walk is the opportunity to pick lots of wild garlic for a salad or a pesto.

wild garlic in flower in sussex

Ill talk about that in another post.

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