After the first few days of warm spring weather, any bluebell plants outside of the forest canopy, with full exposure to the sunlight, burst into flower. One of our favourite spots is a quiet glade in the centre of the forest, and this is often where our first bluebells of the year are found.
Always, the woodland greets us with birdsong.
Just inside the forest, in a patch of light before we duck into the shade of the trees, we see our first bluebells…
… and where the main track carries onwards, we take our own less-known route to the glade.
The hidden path in springtime is more a trail of fallen leaves, that leads up to the highest point in the forest…
… and then down into a clearing. We’re rewarded with the first bluebells of the season, not yet a carpet of blue, but it’s very special to see them just beginning to wake up.
Our eldest two boys are delighted to see their den is intact, and ready for some new alterations.
Our youngest boys love scaling the ancient rocks…
… and in the centre of the glade is our picnic stump, where we always place the snacks.
I try and remember to look upwards. In autumn we lay back on a blanket, all wrapped up in hats and scarves as the red leaves fall downwards, but today, it’s the greens and blues of April.
Then it’s back home along the forest trails. In winter, the boardwalks are needed to travel through this part of the forest without getting knee-deep in mud, but today the ground is completely dry …
… and we’re glad we made the most of the rainy winter days for river walking, as the stream beds are dried up too.
Our seven year old thinks this patch of unmarked forest looks very tempting, and we let him have an explore before it’s time to go home.
We’ll leave you with the first bluebells of 2017, waving in the breeze.