Wivenhoe Wood – a Symphony in Blue

The very end of April; a sunny morning; no wind; a wander in Wivenhoe Wood – a  recipe for one of the most sublime natural experiences: peak Bluebell! Not just the swathes of blue fading into the far distance, but also (arguably even better) the sweet, intoxicating aroma hanging heavy in the air. Heaven Scent indeed!

Right on the edge of town, the Bluebells are there for everyone to see and smell, the best vistas moving around the wood in the wake of the coppicing regime undertaken by Colchester Borough Council. And there are thankfully few signs of a dilution of  colour and scent from hybridization between the native Bluebells and the gardener’s approximation, Spanish Bluebells.

As always, there was much more on our walk yesterday. Oak trees were profligately shedding pollen into the air and insects basking in the dappled shade…

Blue has erupted in the woodscape after the almost equally impressive showing this year of white Wood Anemones. And from here on into the summer, the blue will fragment, first with white Greater Stitchwort and Garlic Mustard, then deep Yellow Archangel, and finally drawn pleasingly together studded with the pink of Herb-Robert and Red Campion.

But pure blue leaves the lasting memory. Do get out and enjoy it soon as it will have faded within a couple of weeks….

And remember not to take it for granted. Our visions of blue are bluer than many have seen before us, benefiting both from the eradication of Wild Boars several centuries ago and from the light which boosted our woodland flowering after the Great Storm in 1987. We cannot rely on storms (hopefully coppicing is more assured), and with the likely return of rampantly foraging Boars before too long, the replacement of monoculture blue with a more diverse kaleidoscope of colour is perhaps only a matter of time.