So after enjoying our refreshment in the tea shop at Sugnall and refreshing our souls in the tranquillity of the walled garden we went off up a narrow lane in search of a nature reserve recommended by Geoff. We were anticipating the delightful experience of seeing and smelling the most English of wildflowers, the Bluebell.
Geoff did not let us down. We found the reserve and it was a stunning place to walk and enjoy what is best about the English countryside. A meadow, a marsh and a broadleaf woodland surrounded by traditional mixed farmland.
It was clearly signed and even had a box on the fence with leaflets in giving us a map and info. Jude the Undergardener loves maps so was happy before we even set off, happy enough to cross a meadow with cattle in!
The hedgerow gave protection to a select few delicate wildflowers such as Red Campion and Stitchwort.
As we left the meadow behind we passed a wet area alongside the track just before we entered the wood itself. It had a primeval quality to it.
Entering the wood the temperature fell a few degrees and the strength of the sun weakened as we walked in dappled shade. The pathway look inviting and was soft underfoot as our feet touched the deep leaf litter.
The scent of Bluebells was intense in the humid atmosphere below the heavily leaved ancient oaks, ash and beech. Below this rich scent lingered the warm aroma of leaf mould. Click an image below and use the arrow to take a stroll with us through the bluebells.
This little reserve is well-known for the huge and very ancient badger sett which covers a large proportion of the wood. Entry holes litter the slope all along one side of the wood. Evidence of their liking for the bulbs of the bluebells as part of their diet can be found. Small holes in the ground show where the bulbs have been dug up and consumed, the top growth, stem, leaves and flowers are left to litter the surface. These bulbs are poisonous to most wildlife but badgers relish them.
Red Campion thrive mixed within the bluebells just as they did under the hedgerow along the more open meadowland. Campion and bluebell with their pink and blue go so well together.
As ever, when visiting any woodland I spot the hand of Mother Nature in the natural sculpture she crafts.
So two great places to visit within half a mile of each other and so different from each other. The two things they do have in common though are tranquillity and atmosphere.
Just before leaving for home we took a short stroll along the boardwalk through the marshland bordering the meadow near where we parked the car. Click on any image and use the arrows to view the short gallery.