Another day, another adventure. After last weeks failed attempt to find any bluebells. I decided to choose another woodland. The UK weather has been lovely for the past couple of months. So much so, that I have had to go and buy some sunscreen to avoid becoming a roast dinosaur!
Anyway, no one needs to hear about my tan lines. Those who have been reading my blog for awhile will know that I visit Houghall Woods quite often. It is a place that is so close to the city but no one ever seems to visit. The woods are a great place to watch wildlife, dip your feet in the river and just get hopelessly lost. Once again I had heard rumours of a family of otters close by. They are living in the River Wear and travel between the Washington Wetlands Centre and the more rural parts of County Durham. Some humans have been really lucky to spot them playing in the water (for a cute video click here), I on the other hand seem to be walking otter repellent. If anyone has any tips on spotting an otter, please let me know. Someone I did spot on the River Wear was black swan who looked like he was having a rest before carrying on with his journey.
As usual, I had no plans or a specific route in mind. Other than getting a cake from the Garden Centre at the end of my adventure. So I found a path and decided to follow it until I could go no further. I like getting hopelessly lost in Houghall. My photographer says after 1000 visits there are still paths that they haven’t walked down. Armed with a camera, some snacks and a picnic blanket, we chose to head left. Away from the usual route along the rivers edge, instead choosing some rather steep hills and a lot of trees.
In the Northern parts of the UK, bluebell season usually begins mid April and lasts for 3-4 weeks. However, it is not the case this year. Due to an unseasonable cold winter and a very dry spring, the bluebells have arrived later than expected. I was expecting a carpet of bright blue flowers but sadly all of the flowers were looking a big pale and rather droopy. This didn’t hinder my adventure, instead I chose to head deeper into the woods, away from the main path.
The best part of the whole day was finding a white bluebell! They are very rare and only 1 in 10,000 English bluebells have the mutation. I love how they blend in nicely with the surroundings. Houghall woods is an area which is lucky enough to only have English bluebells growing. There are no Spanish bluebells invading the woodland.
A few of the older trees in the wood have fallen over the winter months, though no one has removed them. It is amazing to see that they have become nurse logs and many tiny little plants growing out of the old tree trunk. Hopefully next time I visit the little plants will have grown up.
Getting hungry I decided it was time to head back towards the garden centre for a well earned slice of cake. Not before taking a walk through an area of woodland covered in a blanket of white anemones.
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