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Bluebells A magical journey through Kinclaven bluebell woods, scotland.

May 2019

Kinclaven (Ballathie) Bluebell Wood is Scotland’s finest bluebell wood - it's ancient, and astonishingly beautiful.

Kinclaven Bluebell Woods (previously known as Ballathie Bluebell Wood), is a Scottish Oak Wood well known locally for its extensive carpet of bluebells in spring. The wood and adjacent fields were acquired in July 2017 by the Woodland Trust thanks to a generous legacy from one of their supporters.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Bluebells transform our woodland in springtime. The carpet of intense blue under the opening tree canopy is one of our greatest woodland spectacles. It's not surprising that bluebell is one of the nation's best-loved wild flowers.

Common name(s): bluebell; English bluebell; British bluebell; granfer griggles; cra'tae

Scientific name: Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Family: Asparagaceae

In the forests lie the paths... and secreted within... hints of magical dancing fairies and trees that talk....slowly...

Bluebells are perennial bulbous herbs with flowering stems to about 50cm tall. They spend most of the year as bulbs underground and emerge to flower from April onwards.

Leaves: around 7mm to 25mm wide and 45cm long. Strap-shaped with a pointed tip. They are smooth and hairless with a succulent appearance.

Flowers: up to 20 sweetly-scented flowers are borne on a flower stalk which droops or nods to one side. Flowers are bell-shaped and can be blue, white or rarely pink. Each flower has 6 petals with recurved (up-turned) tips. Anthers have white-cream coloured pollen.

Woodland Trust

Woodland Trust – the UK's largest woodland conservation charity

43,069,424 trees planted

1091 woods saved

34,075 hectares of ancient woodland under restoration

Established from humble beginnings in 1972 by their founder Kenneth Watkins OBE, Woodland Trust now have over 500,000 members and supporters and more than 1,000 sites, covering over 26,000 hectares, all over the UK.

Woodland Trust protect and campaign on behalf of this country’s woods, plant trees, and restore ancient woodland for the benefit of wildlife and people.

Their vision is a UK rich in native woods and trees, for people and wildlife.

“Stand up for trees”

Kinclaven Bluebell Wood is one of the sites used in the TV series Outlander, Season 4 as Frasers’ Ridge.

Uses and folklore

Ornamental: bluebells are widely planted as garden plants for their spring flowering.

Indicator plant: bluebell, in combination with other species, is an ancient woodland indicator in the UK.

Material: gummy bluebell sap was used to bind pages into the spines of books. Bronze Age people used bluebell to set feathers upon arrows, known as fletching. Bluebell bulbs were crushed to provide starch for the ruffs of Elizabethan collars and sleeves.

Medicinal: though little used in modern medicine, the bulb has diuretic and styptic properties.

Folklore: according to folklore, one who hears a bluebell ring will soon die! Legend also says that a field of bluebells is intricately woven with fairy enchantments.

Where and when to find bluebells

Bluebells are native to western Europe with the UK being a species stronghold. They're associated with ancient woodland are often used in combination with other species as a clue that a wood is ancient. They reach their greatest densities in the UK’s woods where many thousands of bulbs can exist in one woodland creating the incredible blue carpets we fondly associate with spring.

When: bluebells flower between mid-April and late May.

This early flowering makes the most of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor before the full woodland canopy casts its shade. Millions of bulbs may grow closely together in one wood, creating one of nature’s most stunning displays.

Where: a significant proportion of the world's bluebells grow here in the UK. You'll find them in broadleaved woodland, along hedgerows and in fields.

Find your nearest bluebell wood with the Woodland Trust explore woods map and filter to only include bluebells.

Are bluebells protected?

Yes, bluebells are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). It prohibits anyone from digging up bulbs in the countryside and landowners from removing bluebells from their land for sale. The species was also listed on Schedule 8 of the Act in 1998 which makes trade in wild bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence. This legislation was designed to protect bluebell from unscrupulous bulb collectors who supply garden centres.

Did you know?

Bluebells are poisonous. All parts of the bluebell plant contain toxic glycosides that are toxic to humans and animals including dogs, horses and cattle. Ingestion causes a lowering of the pulse rate, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. If eaten in larger quantities it can cause cardiac arrhythmia, hypotension and electrolyte imbalance.

Woodpecker has been making some holes in the trees... guess he likes the woods too :o)

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If you enjoyed this photo story, then you might like to view an Iceland adventure:

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Scott Masterton
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All Photographs Copyright 2018 - Scott Masterton. All Rights reserved.

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