The best time to see bluebells in Derbyshire is usually mid to late April and in to May. I love seeing a carpet of blue, and it feels all the more special given that it’s such a short season. Bluebells are native to the UK and one of the most loved British flowers. The UK’s woodlands are home to almost half the world’s population of bluebells, so we really are blessed to be able to enjoy this experience. Here are some of the best places to see bluebells in Derbyshire this springtime.
Bluebells take many years to establish so please be very careful not to trample on them or pick them. It’s important not to step into the blue carpets, however much we want that perfect photo. Bluebells are incredibly fragile. They are particularly sensitive to being trodden on. If they are trampled, and the leaves damaged, this not only means that that plant dies, but it also means the bulb isn’t nourished and is less likely to produce flowers in future years.
It’s also important to stick to designated paths in bluebell woods to avoid damage when soil is compacted from weight of footfall.
Native bluebells are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It’s against the law to dig up bulbs in the wild without landowner permission and landowners aren’t allowed to dig them up and sell them.
Where to see bluebells in Derbyshire
The best bluebell woods near Derby city centre
Chaddesden Wood Local Nature Reserve
Chaddesden Wood, within Chaddesden Park, is the only ancient oak woodland in the city of Derby. It is thought to have existed since the Middle Ages. There are two free to use car parks, the main car park: Sat Nav. DE21 6LA the library car park: Sat Nav. DE21 6LN.
Situated on the southern edge of Shipley Country Park is Mapperley Wood Nature Reserve, a narrow belt of woodland with a stream running through it. In the springtime Mapperley Wood enjoys a magical sapphire carpet of bluebells. Park at Mapperley Reservoir car park (DE7 6BR). Dogs welcome on leads. Warm up afterwards with great coffee and cakes or light meals from The Bottle Kiln.
Bluebell Walk at Morley Hayes
Sunday 30th April 2023
Luxury hotel, Morley Hayes arrange an annual guided bluebell walk in the Morley countryside, woods and fields, typically between 5 and 7 kms. Walk together as a group for about an hour and a half to see the stunning bluebell carpets in Morley Hayes Woods. Start at 10:30am from the Hotel Reception. Included in the price is a warming meal afterwards. Choose from chicken and leek or mushroom pie, each served with creamed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables and a glass of house wine, followed by tea or coffee. Booking essential and pre-payment required. £21.50pp. For further information or to make a reservation telephone 01332 782005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bluebells in the Peak District
Bluebell Wood, near New Mills
Bluebell Wood is a small patch of woodland and nature reserve found just off the Sett Valley Way near New Mills. There are good wide paths suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs (although the ground is varying levels and not surfaced in most places).
You can take a wheelchair or pushchair along the whole 1,100m route from Hayfield Countryside Centre and back again. There are two ways in from the Sett Valley Trail. The first path into the wood slopes down a little steeper than ideal, but it is manageable. The second is much easier. You can take either direction around the wood, or you can double back and avoid the steeper section. Note that the visitor centre is now closed, but there are toilets and a pay and display car park.
Bluebells at the Longshaw Estate
Look out for bluebells in late April if you happen to be exploring Haywood or Jubilee Woods in the Longshaw Estate. Please remember to tread carefully to keep this delicate and precious wildflower safe and thriving.
Bluebells at Kedleston
Kedleston has done significant work at managing what had become an overgrown woodland. As each new area has been cleared, then the population of bluebells has increased in the following years, making this a wonderful place to see bluebells in Derbyshire.
One of the best places to see bluebells is close to the hall. Follow the Short Walk path running from the House of Lords gates for beautiful carpets of blue. Admission charges apply, although National Trust members go free. Read about the best National Trust Places in Derbyshire
Shaw Wood, Oakerthorpe near Alfreton
Located in Oakerthorpe, this ancient oak woodland is a wonderful place to see bluebells in Derbyshire. A designated Local Wildlife site, this is good place for a quiet walk and wildlife spotting. Please do stick to the footpaths.
There is no public parking for Shaw Wood. I would suggest parking and eating and drinking at Pesto who have a large car park for patrons (they do a particularly great value lunch menu). Walk into the wood on the public footpath between the nursing home and the pub on the B6031. Alternatively, walk from South Wingfield on the public footpath across the River Amber from Church Lane. In which case, check out the appropriately named The Bluebell for post-walk refreshments (although do see my comments regarding parking on that blog post). Ordnance Survey grid ref of the woods is SK389 551.
Shining Cliff Woods, near Cromford
Situated near Cromford, the ancient woodlands of Shining Cliff Woods are a wonderful place to see carpets of bluebells. The wood is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the wide variety of plants and animals. There is a circular waymarked trail for visitors which pass by the remains of the Betty Kenny Tree which is said to be 2000 years old. According to legend, the tree is the probable origin of the nursery rhyme ‘Rock-a-bye-baby.’ No mountain biking and trail building allowed. Warm up afterwards at The Hurt Arms or Bridge House café in Ambergate, or a little further afield, The Palfrey.
North East Derbyshire
Bluebells at Renishaw Hall, Eckington
The beautiful 19th century, Italianate gardens of the Sitwell family enjoy a stunning show of bluebells in the spring. Adults £9.95, Children £4.95 and under 3s are free. Family ticket for £22.50. Free entry for RHS members. Book tickets online here.
Linacre Reservoirs, near Chesterfield
Explore the bluebell woods at Linacre to see lovely blue carpets of bluebells. Dogs are welcome on leads. Free admission but car parking charges apply.
Bluebells at Calke Abbey
National Trust property, Calke Abbey has plenty of bluebells to be discovered. Take a short walk through Serpentine Wood, where a sea of bluebells carpets the woodland floor in spring. There are detailed walk guidelines here. Admission prices apply, National Trust members free.
Long Walk Wood
Find Long Walk Wood on the road going out of Aston on Trent towards Weston on Trent. There are some impressive carpets of bluebells here.
Just outside Derbyshire
Bluebell Wood at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire
Bluebell Wood is one of the most iconic places in the country to see bluebells. In springtime, the ancient woodland is transformed into an impressive carpet of intense blue. Often the best time to see bluebells at Clumber Park is St. George’s Day on the 23rd April which falls on a Saturday this year.
Bluebells in the Loughborough area
The Outwoods and Grace Dieu Woods are both good for bluebell spotting. For The Outwoods there is a pay and display car park at LE11 3YG that costs just £1 to park all day. Grace Dieu Woods is at LE67 8LT.
Fancy a bluebell shoot?
As mentioned earlier, bluebells are incredibly fragile and the impressive carpets we love to see can be damaged forever by stepping into them, so please do be careful when taking photographs.
One solution to this is to use an experienced professional photographer. You may recall I recently had a branding shoot with Helen Rowan who I recommend whole heartedly. Helen is also highly skilled at outdoor family portraiture and usually runs mini bluebell sessions.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my round up of the best places to see bluebells in Derbyshire. If you know of any other great places or have any other hints or tips please do leave them in the comments below.
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If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:
- Springtime in Derbyshire (a round up of some lovely things to do this season)
- Things to do this Easter
- National Trust Derbyshire
- Thornbridge Hall Gardens
- Lea Gardens
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