We are at the time of year when woodlands are covered in a purple-blue carpet of bluebells. The Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Bradfield Woods is a great place for seeing wide spreads of the flower, and due to many factors that are endangering the English bluebell, areas in Suffolk are one of the last strongholds in the country for seeing the native flower.
The bluebell is one of the best known wild flowers in Britain, and one of the prettiest – yet also associated with danger. According to legends that surround the flower, anyone who hears the song of the bluebells ring will die, and its bloom is able to summon kidnapping fairies or induce an ageless sleep.
The bluebell is also known for its toxicity. The bulb is poisonous and was used to bind books and mend arrows from the sticky substance they produce. It is now used for possible medicinal purposes.
Nowadays, there are risks that are posed to the English bluebell that threaten it. About 70% of bluebells are found in woodland, areas that are under pressure from development. There are also sheep, cattle and muntjac deer that cause harm by grazing on the plant.
The bluebell is furthermore under threat from its Spanish counterpart, which was introduced to British countryside hundreds of years ago and is bigger and paler than the native species. They are now interbreeding with the native species which could lead to the extinction of the English bluebell.
Yet Suffolk is one of the last places to find the English species, with Wildlife Trust areas making sure the bluebell is blooming every year. If you are staying at our Suffolk holiday homes, take a trip to some of the woodland areas and feel the magic of the blue carpet beneath your feet.
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Photo by: Lee Roberts