The Best Bluebell Walks
Blooming 'eck! Bluebells are about to start popping up in their thousands across Hants and IoW. Here's where to find the best of them, plus our pick of nearby pubs for a cheeky pitstop.
What’s a sure sign that it’s finally Spring? Finally retiring your thermal vest, yes. But more excitingly it’s the arrival of bluebell season. We’re so lucky to have the most incredible number of bluebell woods in Hants and IoW. I’ve drawn up this list as a prompt as these stunning fields of blue are about to start to bloom and will only last a few weeks. So, chop chop!
Each year when we write about bluebell hotspots we receive a flurry of messages about the ones we’ve forgotten. Have I finally nailed a comprehensive list this year, I wonder? Please let me know if there are any omissions!
Roydon Woods, Nr Brockenhurst
Roydon Woods is actually a relatively recent addition to the Hampshire landscape and on your stroll around here, you may be able to see evidence of ancient settlers dotted around. Located just less than 2 miles outside of Brockenhurst, it has a range of walks available. Worth noting there’s no car park around here, though there’s some roadside parking if you hunt around.
Pit Stop: The Hare and Hound in Sway is about 6 minutes away by car.
Hinton Ampner, nr Winchester
One thing that the National Trust do well is bluebells – in fact, Hinton Ampner in Winchester is just the first of several NT properties on this list. To make the most of their stunning carpet of ‘bells, you can pick up a map from the site and stroll for about 30 minutes to find these hidden beauties.
Pit Stop: The Hinton Arms is a mere 3-minute drive from the NT property.
At Manor Farm, you can discover the bluebells while also getting to pet all the adorable animals. As well as the farm there’s a Blacksmiths Forge, play areas and much more.
Pit Stop: Tootle 2.8 miles down the road to The Jolly Sailor in Burlesdon for a traditional mariner pub with great views over Hamble Marina.
Upperford Close, Nr Wickham
One of my personal favourite spots. Upperford Close is just outside of Wickham and has a number of strolls to choose from such as the super leisurely West Walk. With car parking on-site, a bookable BBQ pit and the fact I once saw Hugh Bonneville here, it’s a fab little meander around the forest.
Pit Stop: Super quirky with plenty of car parking outside, The Square Cow, Wickham is just 1.9 miles away.
This country park is a whopping 200 acres of family fun and natural beauty to poke about in. As well as the beautiful natural bluebells that pop out at this time of year, it’s also home to the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs. There’s even a mini train if you don’t fancy plodding around too much.
Pit Stop: Just 3.5 miles away is Monty’s Inn, this is the cosy country pub that’s part of the Montagu Arms.
Hampshire’s bluebells are synonymous with Micheldever Woods, just 5 miles away from Winchester. With a car park at the entrance of the wood as well as a picnic site, it’s the perfect spot to check out that big blue carpet.
Pit Stop: Just 15 minutes away by car is the super cosy Woolpack Inn in Totford.
Itchen Valley Country Park, nr Eastleigh
Who knew the woods could be so jam-packed with things to do? With the obvious bluebell walk, Itchen Valley Country Park (5 miles away from Southampton) is also home to a Go Ape! course, arts and crafts and numerous trails to explore.
Pit Stop: Simple food just a mere 3-minute drive away is the Master Builder.
Durley Mill, Botley
With a Grade II listed watermill and millhouse, Durley Mill is just 7 miles away from Southampton and offers a real snapshot into how life ‘used to be’. With their beautiful bluebells in bloom through April and May, and heritage buildings to explore it’s a great spot that’s not too far from civilisation.
Pit Stop: Head towards The Robin Hood, a ten-minute drive from the mill for a quaint countryside pub with bags of character.
The Vyne, nr Basingstoke
The Vyne is always a stonker and with loads of National Trust fun for the kids (fancy dressing like a Victorian?) this is a great spot to hit the bluebells and some charming historic architecture as well. The bluebell walk is a simple 1.3 miler and the grounds also offer up daffodils and cherry blossom for a bit of extra colour.
Pit Stop: The Queens College Arms in Tadley is a quick 7 minute drive down the road.
Zebon Copse, Church Crookham
Unusually named and unusually beautiful, Zebon Copse in the ancient settlement of Church Crookham offers some fab displays of that Springtime fave. You can also take a trek down the nearby Basingstoke Canal and enjoy all the sights and sounds of Hampshire in the Spring.
Pit Stop: The Exchequer in neighbouring Crookham is worth a visit at just 1.2 miles away.
Broomy Inclosure, New Forest
Brilliant name, brilliant bluebells. With a range of walks starting at around 3 miles at a leisurely pace, you will be treated to a sea of flowers along with the creatures of the New Forest.
Pit Stop: The High Corner Inn is right by the entrance to the inclosure.
A juxtaposed world of engineering and the natural world can be found up at Hollycombe. While you hunt down the elusive floral carpet you can also enjoy the rides at the steam-driven fairground and enthrall toddlers with trains and other retro vehicles.
Pit Stop: Worth checking out is The Deer’s Hut just 3 miles the road in nearby Griggs Green.
Isle Of Wight
Another National Trust beauty and this one is on the Island. Located just off the Military Road on the B3399 (an absolutely breathtaking area in itself), is Mottistone Gardens and Estate. This spot, 8 miles away from Newport, boasts hillsides covered in bluebell carpets and a view across the Channel.
Everybody’s favourite country park on the Isle of Wight is scattered with woodlands and tucked away little spots to discover bluebells. There’s also lots to do with the kids while you’re here with their toboggan run and nature-themed attractions.
Pit Stop: There’s the charming thatched Hare and Hounds literally on the doorstep of Robin Hill. One mile down the road, it’s worth dropping into the Dairyman’s Daughter and exploring the quirky Arreton Barns.
America Wood nr Apse Heath
Just outside of Shanklin is America Wood. There’s a rumour that this place was named as they used the wood to build ships for the American War of Independence, but its a bit unfounded. Amongst the trees and the bluebells here, you’ll also be able to find wild badgers and more of the Island’s famous Red Squirrel population.
Pit Stop: You’ll need to head towards the coast for somewhere to grab a drink, but thankfully the Grade II listed Fisherman’s Cottage, located under Shanklin Chine, is just 2.5 miles away and has an amazing view.