Published: 06:00, 14 April 2021
While restrictions are easing, don't forget to keep your nature levels topped up by breathing in the spectacular sight of bluebells in all their glory.
We've picked six sites across Kent to try. Just make sure you tread carefully...
The National Trust’s top bluebell spotting site in Kent is at Ide Hill, near Sevenoaks.
The woods are a designated SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) due to the English native bluebells that bloom here - bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
Every year the hillside is smothered with the nation’s favourite wildflower. But did you know every damaged bluebell takes four to six years to regrow? The crumpled leaves are unable to photosynthesise, starving the fragile plant of food and energy.
Matt Scott, head gardener, said: “They don’t like change or disturbance, preferring ancient woods where the ground has lain undisturbed for years.”
The site is especially popular during bluebell season, and with parking space at a premium, your visit may be more pleasant during the week. You need to pre-book online.
Or park at nearby Toys Hill, with its own trust car park and take a walk which links up with Emmetts Garden.
Another National Trust site for bluebells is Ightham Mote near Borough Green. Find out more here.
The Riverhill Himalayan Gardens near Sevenoaks is holding one of the highlights of its season - the annual bluebell festival - on selected days from Wednesday, April 21 to Bank Holiday, Monday, May 3.
Visitors can take a stroll through the carpet of blue and enjoy a special woodland trail. There is also a bluebell-inspired craft fair. Find out more here.
The much-loved annual event organised by Aylesford’s Heart of Kent Hospice won’t be going ahead as normal this year but instead will be streamed at 10am on Sunday, May 2. The event is one of the charity’s biggest fundraisers of the year. Find out how to join here.
Hole Park Gardens’ online barometer is showing that some bluebells are already popping up - but the best is yet to come as the annual Bluebell Spectacular runs until Sunday, May 9. The 16-acre garden at Rolvenden has 10 acres of woodlands and is open from 11am to 6pm. Find out more here.
Bluebells at Hucking
The 537-acre Hucking Estate site near Maidstone has a breathtaking bluebell display alongside other wildflowers each year, attracting 21 different species of butterflies. Plan a walk via explorekent.org.uk
Bluebells at Bedgebury
The Forestry England site Bedgebury Pinetum, near Goudhurst, has a woodland walk surrounded by 12,000 trees and shrubs as well as azaleas, rhododendrons and bluebells. Take your walking shoes and visit when visitor numbers may be less. The car park is open daily 8am to 7pm but currently has limited capacity to allow for social distancing.
Find out more about visiting here.