I love Beech woodlands. I just can't get enough of them and whist autumn is my favourite season, it's hard to beat a beech woodland in spring. There is something uplifting about the new growth and accompanying bird song in woodlands during spring. Add a carpet of bluebells and it becomes the perfect antidote for a long grey winter like the one we've just had.
West Woods near Marlborough in Wiltshire is arguably one of the best woodlands we have in the West Country. I have visited on a few occasions in the past, but so far haven't managed to catch the bluebells and beech trees at their very best. I realised the other day, whilst planning my spring photography, that I'd not visited West Woods for some 7 years so I decided it needed to be on my bluebell list this year.
I visited the woods a couple times this month. While the bluebells were looking good on my first trip, the leaves had yet to appear on the trees in any great quantity. I made the most of my time by exploring to find the best potential locations and I also took the opportunity to work on a few close-up images which is not something I do that often.
I thought maybe the bluebells would start to turn before the trees were at their best but I needn’t have worried. When I returned the following week the bluebells were a magnificent display and the branches of the trees were full of lush green growth. One of the best bluebell woodland scenes I have ever seen and the icing on the cake was hearing the distinctive call of a Cuckoo, something I've not heard for a few years. Interestingly I heard my second Cuckoo of the year while in woodlands at Exmoor on Friday. I do hope this is a good sign as their numbers have been in serious decline for the last 20 years or so.