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| YOU ARE VIEWING ARTICLE - ID:20140411031 |
|Title:||Lookout For Bluebells & Fairies In Yorkshire’s Woodlands!|
|Author:||Yorkshire Wildlife Trust |
|ID & Publication:||20140411031 ~ The-Villager.co.uk |
Learn about fairies in the woods, let your imagination run wild and discover the magical secrets of Yorkshire’s bluebells.
As spring gets into its stride, one of Yorkshire’s most breath-taking natural spectacles is unfolding within ancient woodlands as bluebells burst into life. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are encouraging people to head down to their local woodland nature reserve over the next couple of weekends to discover the secrets of this mysterious and beautiful flower.
Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Bluebell carpets are a tremendous spectacle and come hand in hand with a profusion of other wildflowers. Busy birds are also building nests and forming partnership bonds at this time of year. The combination makes a trip to a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust woodland in spring the ideal way to take time out, reflect on nature’s beauty and appreciate what a healthy natural environment has to offer’.
Bluebells can be found at nature reserves all across Yorkshire, from Hetchell Wood in Leeds, North Cliffe Woods near Market Weighton, to the smaller Moorlands Nature Reserve in York and even at the Trust’s largest site, Potteric Carr near Doncaster. April and May is the perfect time to spot bluebells in full bloom and these are merely a few of the Trust’s sites where bluebells are prevalent and you can even spot them in your garden.
Whilst the bluebell is now commonly heralded as a signal of spring, it is actually a flower with a much more sinister and interesting past, with an age-old association with misfortune in folklore. Also known as ‘fairy flowers’, people believed that fairies used bluebells to trap unaware small children passing by. It was also considered terribly unlucky to pick a bluebell or bring it into the house – there were even those who believed that a bluebell ringing was a signal from the fairies of imminent death to any who heard it. Others, however, believed that wearing a wreath made of bluebell flowers, would be compel the wearer to speak only the truth. Or that if one turned the flowers inside out without tearing them, they would eventually find true love. The bluebell is even a symbol of constancy and is believed to be the origin of the ‘something blue’ wedding day tradition.
Nowadays it is rare to find a more spring-like sighting than that of sunlight filtering through a woodland canopy illuminating a carpet of bluebells. Bluebells are not only pretty but also really important for bees, hoverflies and butterflies, which feed on the nectar in the early spring before other flowers have emerged. Many believe because of their slow spread rate that bluebells hold the clue to the location of ancient woodlands. This means that if you discover bluebells in hedgerows or even in your garden there is a possibility that it once was a site of diverse ancient woodland dating as far back as the last ice age! They hold extra significance in the UK as this is where half of the world’s population of bluebells now reside and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has a plethora of ancient woodland nature reserves where you can easily spot them. However, please be aware that bluebells are a protected species in the UK and therefore you should not dig them up or pick them!
Through careful management of woodland nature reserves and through the excellent support of its 36,000 members and support from players of the Peoples Postcode Lottery the Trust is helping to ensure that bluebell displays remain as magical as possible, and continue to be one of the best free shows on offer in Yorkshire. So do go out and enjoy it, but mind out for those fairies!
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