Sunday, 4 May 2014

Bluebell Commons

I would have inserted a picture of a Bluebell here, but Blogger's 'insert image' tool is, yet again, f**ked, so you'll just have to imagine it...

This is the time of year to see these best-of-British wild flowers, so we jumped in the car and set off on a partially plotted course towards Captain’s Wood, somewhere in Buckinghamshire, which had been recommended as a top-notch bluebell wood.  It soon became clear that we’d been told to turn right at a garage which, on all evidence, didn’t exist this side of Leighton Buzzard, so we stopped to ask directions, in the middle of a wide, open, grassy, populated Common: the sort of gorgeous public space that confirms my intention to vote Green at all future elections.

The nice local man asked us to hold his collie’s lead while he thought about it.  He wasn’t sure about Captain’s Wood, but reckoned that if we continued along this road for a couple of miles – past a garage, no less! – we’d go down a winding hill and pass some amazing drifts.  He was right, but unfortunately the bluebells were under a steeply sloping beech wood which would have required more time and energy than we had.  So we drove on, until we reached Wendover Woods, where we parked up, recklessly waiving the parking fee, and walked through some well-managed, well-tamed Forestry Commission land for half an hour or so.  There were some distant bluebells, faintly visible beyond the zip wires and the picnic tables.  Lots of families were having fun.

I’m in two minds.  On the one hand, it’s obviously great that public bodies like the Forestry Commission, the NT, English Heritage etc. are protecting what was once common land against corporate predation – but a perverse bit of me regrets the days when I was twelve years old and would be taken by my very proper parents to Uddens Wood to trespass, admire (and even pick) the bluebells in the spring, and steal the blackberries in the autumn.  Uddens is a housing estate now.  Is that good or bad?  Wild or tame?


1 comment:

  1. We have many bluebells nearby, well & truly in the wild (proper English, not those insipid Iberian infiltrators whose presence makes it worth considering voting UKIP*) at all stages of flowering as I type. On our walk from home across to Hound Tor this morning we saw the first vestiges of colour at Holwell Lawn (wild, despite the name, generally 2 weeks later than most - they'll be fine by the end of next week) and at the top of the steep haul up from Becka Brook to Greator the blueness increased along with the sky. And we have the wonderful pleasure of a wild but a bit tamed bluebell wood of our very own - something I would never have dreamed possible. And at Widewell Wood, Stokenham Ed & Jane Welch allow everyone the incredible pleasure of walking through the superb wild display.

    * I jest