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Rolling Out The Blue Carpet in The National Forest

Friday, 17th April 2009

Bluebells in The National Forest

The annual display of spectacular bluebells has begun!  Bluebell spotters flock to The National Forest for its vibrant display every year. 

Some of the best places to walk through bluebell-carpeted woods include Serpentine Wood on the Calke Abbey Estate, Outwoods in Charnwood near Loughborough, Jackson’s Bank in Staffordshire or Staunton Ridgeway through Spring Wood Nature Reserve, near Staunton Harold. 

From Saturday 18th April to Sunday 17th May 2009, Yoxall Lodge opens its gates to the public to enjoy its stunning Bluebell Woods.  Set in beautiful rolling parkland at Newchurch, Yoxall Lodge was once a forest lodge situated in the heart of the ancient Needwood Forest. Woodland walks open onto a magical carpet of native bluebells which covers the floor of these old, natural woodlands.

Coppiced hazel, magnificent beech, elegant silver birch and ancient oak are just some of the species of trees which form the woodland at Yoxall Lodge and provide the richest of habitats for wildlife, plants and birds.  Beneath their foliage they shelter these beautiful fragrant flowers which have taken several centuries to develop to the stunning display seen today.

The English countryside changes dramatically from spring to summer. The bluebell display now fully over, it is the turn of the showy summer wildflowers to bloom whilst the trees overhead are in full leaf.  One of the most stunning wildflower meadows definitely worth a visit is at Billa Barra. In 2003 Barlows, the commercial interior design specialists, sponsored the creation of the wildflower meadow at Charnwood’s Billa Barra in conjunction with Landlife, the national wildflower charity.  Willesley Wood near Ashby de la Zouch, Ulverscroft and Lea Meadows in Charnwood also boast a rich colourful display of wildflowers that attracts a wide variety of wildlife.

The National Forest has produced a leaflet showing where to see wildlife across The Forest including wildflowers.  To get a copy of this or for The National Forest and Beyond visitor guides, which contain ideas on where to go, what to see and places to stay in and around The National Forest, contact the National Forest Company on tel: 01283 551211, email: or download a copy.

Yoxall Lodge has five walks for visitors to enjoy the bluebells and summer flowers, all clearly waymarked and with benches en route.  As this is a private woodland, there is a small charge for entry.  Adults £3, Children (5-16 yrs old) £1.00 and Under 5's FREE. 

Yoxall Lodge nestles in some of Staffordshire’s prettiest and most unspoilt countryside in the heart of the ancient Needwood Forest. The old house is no longer standing, having fallen into a state of disrepair in the early part of the 20th Century. In its heyday William Wilberforce, who was instrumental in the abolition of the slave trade, was a frequent visitor to Yoxall Lodge.

Contacts: Richard & Sue Featherstone
Tel: 01283 575237 / 07891 930483