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NEWS RELEASE No: 145684 MAY 2011

Wombwell Wood named as a top ten bluebell hotspot

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Ranger Kelly Brindley admires the blooming bluebells of Wombwell Wood to celebrate is elevation into the top ten places in England to see the spring flower

Wombwell Wood, near Barnsley, has been named as one of the top ten places on the Forestry Commission estate in England to see bluebells.

A vivid blue carpet has sprung up in the 145 hectare (362 acre) South Yorkshire wood – popular with local walkers and famed for its gnarled old oaks.

Bluebells are a good indicator that a wood’s roots go back many centuries and those that grow in Britain represent a significant proportion of the world’s population.

Wombwell Wood is designated as an ancient woodland because it appears as a forested area on the earliest reliable maps dating to round the 1600s. 

Other beauty spots in the Forestry Commission top ten include Grizedale Forest in the Lake District, Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, and the New Forest in Hampshire.

Helen Walton, Forestry Commission forester said:

“Wombwell Wood is joyful place to visit in the spring and important for its wild flowers like bluebells.  They are set to draw a lot more admirers after the wood made it into the Forestry Commission top ten.”

The best time to see bluebells is in late April and May, but the flowers don't stick around forever, so you need to get out there and see them.

The Forestry Commission has launched a new web page for people to post their bluebell images at!/forestry.commission.england

Note to Editor

  1. Bluebell Factfile:
    Bluebells are well adapted to life in woodlands preferring moist, shady and stable conditions.

    In the spring they flower before the surrounding trees come out in full leaf. This means that they complete their life cycle while light levels are high.

    Bluebells are able to grow quickly in the spring because they store their energy in their bulbs.

    Some estimates suggest the UK has up to half of the world's total bluebell population.

    Tennyson speaks of bluebell juice being used to cure snake-bite. The romantic poets of the 19th century, such as Keats and Tennyson, believed that the bluebell symbolised solitude and regret.

    Native bluebells are protected by law (the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)). This means it’s illegal to dig up the bulbs from the wild in order to sell them. 

  2. The Forestry Commission recently expanded Wombwell Wood by planting 90,000 young trees on an adjacent 58 hectare (147 acre) former open cast site.

  3. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive woodlands. 


Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.