Read on to find out five woods where you can see amazing displays of bluebells in Hampshire. Includes locations and walks in the South Downs and New Forest national parks plus directions.
You know summer is well and truly on its way when you peek into the woods to see streaks of sunlight shining down onto a carpet of bluebells.
Thanks to a mild winter and a lot of early spring rain, bluebells have bloomed early again this year.
And, because they generally come out sooner in the south of the country, now is a great time to take a bluebell walk in Hampshire. Finding the best displays of bluebells, however, isn’t always easy.
Where to find bluebell woods
Bluebells prefer moist, shady conditions. You’re most likely to find them in the stable conditions offered by the county’s ancient woodlands.
This means they don’t spring up in any old place. The environment needs to be just right before you can spot that beautiful mix of light purple flowers and deep green leaves.
Five places to see bluebells in Hampshire
Here are five great bluebell woods in Hampshire this spring.
Know any other good bluebell walks? Tweet me or let me know where in the comments below – if you want to giveaway the location that is!
1. Manor Farm Country Park, Burseldon
Manor Farm Country Park, on the banks of the River Hamble near Southampton, has more than 400 acres of woodland and open spaces to explore. Entry is free. But you’ll need to pay for parking.
You’ll find bluebells dotted in various parts of the woodland. However, the most impressive display runs either side of the path for a few hundred yards on the north side of “Docks Copse” on east side of the park (PDF map).
To get there, head along the road that goes to the farm itself at the far end of the park. Take the path right at “Longmead” and continue until you get to the woods. Then go right.
There’s also a good smattering of bluebells in “Vantage Copse” and “Bottom Copse”.
Directions: Manor Farm Country Park is on Pyland’s Lane, just off junction 8 of the M27 between Bursledon and Hedge End.
2. Exbury Gardens, New Forest
With mile after mile of boggy woodlands to explore, there are plenty of places to spot bluebells in the New Forest come springtime.
For a guaranteed bluebell show, head to the 200-acre Exbury Gardens in the south-east corner of the national park.
As you arrive, look out for the carpets of bluebells lining “Summer Lane”. Then there’s even more bluebells inside the gardens alongside other spring bloomers such as azaleas, primroses and camellias.
Directions: Exbury isn’t far from Beaulieu and Fawley. Look for the brown signs off the A326. The postcode is SO45 1AZ.
3. Durley Mill, Botley
Durley Mill is a hamlet between Durley and Curdridge, near Botley. It’s named after the Grade II listed watermill and millhouse that straddles one of the channels of the River Hamble.
The woodland around the river is packed with bluebells come springtime.
Park in the large lay-by on the edge of the hamlet and head up the slope and through the gate at the top of the small ridge.
From there you can walk along the edge of the woods. The best display is usually at the far end of the woodland just before you come out in the fields.
Directions: Head down Calcot Lane at the duck pond on the B3035 between Bishop’s Waltham and Curdridge. Go under the old railway bridge, then take the next left. The lay-by is after a sharp bend in the road.
4. Micheldever Wood, Winchester
Micheldever is a few miles north of Winchester. The wood is to the south-east of the village. The M3 runs through part of it, but don’t let that put you off.
Come April/May you’ll find carpets of bluebells throughout the wood. However, this is a working forest so it’s possible that they might decide to stay snuggled underground in areas of deforestation.
The wood has marked paths. You can cycle on some of the trails.
Directions: There’s a car park on Northington Lane off the A33. The nearest postcode is SO24 9UB.
5. Hinton Ampner, Alresford
Hinton Ampner country house is famed for its garden’s floral displays. But its in the hedgerows and small copses around the estate that you’ll find the best bluebell displays.
To see these, and more, there’s a nice circular walk you can do from the house’s car park.
You might also like: Where to see lavender fields in and around Hampshire
Take the footpath over to Hinton Ampner village, which lies on the east side of the house near the church. Go through the village (it’s only a handful of pretty houses) and continue straight onto a muddy track when the road turns sharply right.
When you reach a crossroads in footpaths, head down the hill. At the cottages at the bottom, go right where you’ll pick up another footpath/bridleway.
Cross the road and you’ll soon see the house on your right-hand side. Here, there’s another footpath that takes you back up the village and the church.
Directions: Hinton Ampner house car park is off the A272 between Winchester and Petersfield, near to Cheriton.
Over to you
Where’s your favourite place to see bluebells in Hampshire?