It is bluebell time – that means looking for swathes of the things in coppiced woods and wherever they are likely to grow. The conditions ideal for them are said coppiced woods where there is enough open woodland floor for them to pop up, or where the trees have been slaughtered, sorry harvested, leaving open ground that will be covered by saplings etc thus encouraging the things to sprout.
This year we have been blessed with an abundance of primroses, and of late magnificent dandelions so it was on the cards that we should be likewise inundated with bluebells. Sister Daphne and I headed for Ightham Mote where we intend to walk the woods and gorge on the sight of millions of bluebells as well as have a good walk. Instead we stopped in the village of Ightham, parked the car in the village car park and took a stroll around.
Ightham boasts an ancient Inn named The George and the Dragon where we decided that lunch could be supplied. Prior to that we walked past the pub and up from the square, the village is hilly, passing Busty Lane to a public footpath leading to Mill Lane that led us past a wonderful view over the valley toward Wrotham. The houses are old and on one converted Oast we saw a couple of Doves smooching on the top vane.
Once past the houses there was a choice of route, one to Mill Lane and the other to Borough Green. We chose Mill Lane and delighted in glimpses of apple blossom and of course bluebells. On the way its was also noted that bees will bee very busy on the fields dotted with dandelions – amazing.
In fact the walk around the village to the pub for lunch was a pleasant surprise of discovery, once again a village we often passed through but never thought to explore. Lunch was excellent and pleasant with friendly staff, a chat with a long time local and soaked up the atmosphere.
The second stage of the minor trek was taken along a footpath that led back to the road so we turned around and walked to the church alongside of which was another footpath. We followed that down to a stream and then along to the main road where we took our life in our hands crossing it to the path the other side.
We climbed into the woods there and saw our first swathe of bluebells not yet in full glow but it was a taste and as a bonus the path led past horse paddocks back to the main road and Chapel Row named after the Wesleyan chapel. We walked up to where the footbridge crossed the road and instead of walking directly back to Ightham on the marked road we walked up the road past the Rectory – very pretty.
On the way were rained on which made for a dull afternoon but it was still a pretty sight, the dandelions glowing fresh and yellow and hedgerows and gardens looking glorious. We decided on returning to the car park to drive to Ightham Mote and enjoy the woodlands there.
The woodland floor at Ightham was covered in bluebells and despite the lack of Sol and his benevolent glow they were beautiful. We met a young woman from New Zealand who was taking pictures of the bluebells to send back to her granny in New Zealand – the Granny had emigrated there and made a life there – the old lady had fond memories of the bluebells. Well done Hannah, lovely thing to do.
We walked with her around the paths taking pictures and just gazing. This wonderful spring time treat of bluebells was added to by the sight of small clumps of native orchids. If we don’t get to see any more this year although we may not have had our fill of them at least we got to see them.
That means we had pleasure in discovering a village for ourselves and finding the flowers. Ah, how sweet!