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Rolling Out the Blue Carpet in The National Forest

Wednesday, 12th March 2008

The annual display of spectacular blues will be rolling out during April and May to carpet the Forest floor with a mass of bluebells.

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 within 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 19th April to Sunday 18th May 2008, 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 magical carpets of native bluebells which cover the floor of these old, natural woodlands.

The 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.

As well as the bluebells, visitors can enjoy cakes and cream teas in Yoxall Lodge’s marquee and garden between 10.30am and 5pm.

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. At Yoxall Lodge wild roses and foxgloves flourish in the woodlands and hedgerows, and the naturalised martagon lilies are magnificent. Even the humble bramble is smothered in blossom.

One of the most stunning wildflower meadows in the Forest 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 rich displays of wildflowers that attract 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: tel: 01283 551211; email: