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One of our favourite times of the year...
One of the attractions of walking in the Spring is the chance to see wild flowers when they’ve just emerged. Woodlands, fields and hillsides can be totally transformed by colour, and with a little planning and good route choice, you can design walks with seeing flowers as your main objective. Although there are thousands of places in Britain for spring walks, from well-known trails to local secrets, here are three of our favourites.
The New Forest
Once a medieval hunting ground and now a National Park, the New Forest lies on the south coast of England and includes wide tracts of open heath and miles of woodland. It’s in these woodlands that some of the best bluebell displays can be seen. Although everyone has a local wood where they like to see these annual blue flowers, the size of the New Forest means that flower hunting can easily turn into a full day out, or even a weekend away. Good starting points for your walk are Brockenhurst or Lyndhurst.
If it’s mountain flowers you’re after, Cwm Idwal in North Wales is a botanical treasure. Hanging above the Ogwen Valley, the Cwm is a glacial bowl, gouged out of the mountains over thousands of years. It is one of the best places in Britain to see alpine flowers, including the purple clumps of moss campion and the white tufted saxifrage.
Even if you don’t see the rarer species such as the famous Snowdon lily, you’ll find it hard to miss the massed ranks of the bright yellow flowering spikes of bog asphodel. The best starting point for a walk is Idwal Cottage on the A5 and it’s possible to stay on paths the whole way round Llyn Idwal if you want to make it a circuit.
As with bluebells, many people have their favourite places to see daffodils. If it’s a day out you’re after though, you could do far worse than the way-marked Daffodil Walk, a 9 mile circular trail in Gloucestershire. The route will take you through Dymock Wood and Haind Park Wood, where you’re likely to see these bold yellow flowers, as well as on the surrounding field verges. It’s been claimed the sights even beat Wordsworth’s famous Lake District daffodils! The route is best begun from the villages of Dymock or Kempley.
Please remember on these walks and whenever encountering wild flowers, that the rule is to look and don’t pick them. We have too few wild places in the UK to go around taking all the colourful bits out of them, and flowers look much better in their natural habitats anyway.