"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bluebells at Ryton Wood

I must admit we don't normally visit places on bank holidays as they are always so busy but we realised this weekend that we were in danger of missing out on the woodland bluebell displays so we decided to go to Ryton Woods - a place I have long wanted to visit. Luckily, it was remarkably quiet there and we saw very few people.

I'm not sure how much of the above sign you'll be able to read. Ryton Wood is a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust reserve which, together with 7 other large woods forms the Princethorpe Woodlands. They are the largest surviving area of semi-natural woodland left in Warwickshire today. Ryton Wood is an SSSI covering 85 hectares and has been returned to its current excellent state through traditional management practices. Parts of the reserve date back to the 11th century and it is Warwickshire's best site for butterflies.

We saw a lot of wildflowers - below Bugle

Emily was getting a good view of the Reserve from up here - lots of these tall "chairs" scattered throughout the wood.

The Bluebell

"A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes,
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.........."

by Anne Bronte

Greater Stitchwort

I spent rather a lot of time sitting on this wooden bench with carved animals. As usual when I stop to take photos or look at insects I turn round and find the family are hundreds of yards ahead of me. They had marched off along the path towards an adjoining country park in search of toilets and I hadn't a clue which direction they had gone in. So I sat on this bench as I knew it was the only place they could re-enter the reserve and I waited and waited and waited. Eventually they returned having, I suspect, downed icecreams!

We went in search of a large clearing I had been told about that was apparently a sea of blubells and soon found it - a beautiful sight.

We saw quite a few butterfly species - Brimstones, Orange Tips, Peacocks, Whites (too distant to id), Speckled Woods and my first Comma of the year. Sorry no photos they wouldn't stop still for long enough!


Wendy said...

Wonderful photos of the Bluebells; they look stunning. This looks a beautiful place to visit (with a good selection of butterflies, too). And I love the tall chairs!

Jerry said...

I so adore these wonderful shots of all the Bluebells - they are one of the great treats our countryside has to offer.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Many thanks. Hoping we can revisit later in the year :)

Jerry - Many thanks. Few things can beat bluebells en masse :)

Em Parkinson said...

I still; haven't managed a decent picture of bluebell swathes.....yours are beautiful.

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson. Glad you liked the photos - they turned out better than I thought they would. Its hard to capture the colour and even worse when its sunny. A mass of them seem to merge too as a blur and not have definition. I did mess around with the white balance on some of them which didn't really work!!!! But there were better than some others I have tried recently.

Keep trying and good luck :)

Toffeeapple said...

Your pictures are super. I've been in Argyll for a week or so and it seems that everywhere I looked there were acres and acres of Bluebells, it was stunning. I did'nt capture any though.

We had a cottage that had lots of bird feeder, so were absorbed in watching birds of all sorts, even a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders, otgether with Red Squirrels.

Anonymous said...

Simply beautiful images and what a wonderful place to spend the Bank Holiday :-) It reminds me of a wood which I used to explore with my sisters when we lived in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire :-)

I also read with interest your latest moth report and interestingly enough I had a similar problem identifying a Mottled Pug this morning (actually your photos have really helped me as they show some of the subtle but key differences between Brindled and Mottled).

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) What a picture those Bluebells look, a real sea of blue, just gorgeous! Your photos of them are lovely. You picked a wonderful day for weather, so nice to see the sun and blue skies, it really showed the Bluebells at their best. Greater Stitchwort is such a pretty little flower too and one that is easily overlooked, I have to admit I have noticed it more here since seeing it on your posts :-)

Well, I do feel silly! I looked at your post and mentioned to my husband that a place called Ryton Woods looks a lovely place to go and that I would look it up, he said there was no need because we know where it is having been there twice last summer!! There then followed the 'no we haven't', 'yes we have' conversation ;-) Of course it turns out he was right, I remember the place well, it was the name I had forgotten! I should have remembered as soon as I saw your photo of that lovely bench with the carvings. We sat on it ourselves! It was while sitting there I saw and photographed the first wild black rabbit I have ever seen. We parked at the country park end and if I remember correctly it is a fair distance from the bench so I'm not surprised you had a long wait, very nice and peaceful on a sunny day though :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thank you so much :) Glad you enjoyed your holiday - even if no photos you will have lovely memories of the bluebells. I don't think anything can beat them :)

Wonderful to see so many birds and red squirrels in your cottage garden too :)

Hope you don't mind me asking but would you let me know if you discover that Dean has set up a new blog - I do hope he is ok.

David Turner - Thank you so much :)
I couldn't believe how quiet it was there for a bank holiday. Hardly saw anyone else!

So pleased the moth photo helped with your id :) The fact that it was so well-marked made it even more frustrating that I was having so much id trouble :) TBH I think I will always have problems with most pugs. You have given me an idea though I might go through some of my moth photos of brindled and mottled and compare features. I did run the trap Sat and Sun but only caught a Caddis Fly!

Do hope you had a great time in Norfolk.

ShySongbird - Hi Jan :) Thank you so much - so glad we found the clearing with so many flowers :) I like Greater Stitchwort too - so delicate and as you say so pretty.

So glad you have visited Ryton Woods too and enjoyed it there :) I have problem with names too - took me ages this afternoon to remember the name of the Reserve where I go and see orchids :) Ryton Woods is surprisingly close to Brandon Marsh too - I would think about 5 -10 mins by car.

I will look out for black rabbits when we go back - only ever seen one once in the Lake District when we had a cottage in Cunsey.

Oh gosh - I was in a bit of a huff about the wait (it must have been over an hour :( ) and, of course, I hadn't got my phone with me and David had gone off looking for them and I didn't dare move in case I missed them returning! Brian had gone off with my binoculars too so couldn't even watch birds! (We parked in a Warks WLT car park the other side of the wood - right by the wood but no loo's!!). I did see a lot of butterflies whilst waiting though.

I notice from the WWLTts reserve guide that the the woods get Purple Hairstreak and White Admiral plus Silver Washed Fritillary and Wood White so really hope I can persuade Brian to revisit. Though not 100% I would trust my id skills enough for Wood White :)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Hi again Jan :) Sorry for another comment after the super long one above but must tell you this knowing how much you love butterflies :)

I meant to mention above that somewhere near the woods is Ryton Meadows another place I want to visit. Its Warwickshire Butterfly Conservation's reserve and I have just been reading about someone who visited last weekend and saw Green Hairstreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers there.

Tricia Ryder said...

Wow - now that's what I call a Bluebell wood.. how wonderful!

And if you had to wait, it couldn't have been a better spot... glad you were all re-united though :)

Ragged Robin said...

Tricia Ryder - thanks Tricia. One of the best bluebell displays I've seen - perhaps only bettered by Nagshead RSPB.

Was a relief that we finally found each other - will remember my phone next time!!! :)

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Caroline :-) Thank you so much for your lovely replies and info, really kind of you, I know how long it takes ;-) Yes, I really must go to Brandon Marsh this year, I'm sure I would love it.

When I read about the long wait on the seat I thought if that had been me I would have been just a little... I think I really mean very ;-)...unhappy by the time my husband got back ;-) If I hadn't got my phone I would have been really panicking though as I have absolutely no sense of direction and would probably have never found my way back to the car!

It was the Silver Washed Fritillaries I really went there to see both times but I wasn't lucky and apart from a White Admiral flying rapidly past I didn't see any of the ones I was hoping for, I'm sure it was just bad luck though and will definitely go again. The SWF, WA and PH I put on my blog were all seen at Bernwood Forest which we also visited twice. It was there I saw the glorious Purple Emperor too :-)

I think Ryton Meadows can be reached from the woods, not sure where exactly but I see Butterfly Conservation Warks site has some further directions, definitely worth a visit...we just need some prolonged sunshine now!

I saw Dingy Skipper last year at Ufton Fields NR. I remember you said you had been there too. I'm thinking that might be where you see orchids, we were a bit too early for them.

Sorry this has been such a very long ramble again :-)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Hi again Jan :) Very happy to receive long rambles :) Think my reply might be even longer :)

Do hope you do get to visit Brandon Marsh - you would love it there.

Oh yes, I was pretty unhappy!!! :) Even worse I was SO hot. Not that warm when we left home and I had on a jumper and coat! Being left behind problem gets worse as now I take photos as well as trying to id things I see. I got left behind in Norfolk at Holt and went back to car only to wait for ages and ages. Worst was on Isle of Wight at Newtown Nature Reserve which is brilliant for butterflies and I spent ages trying to refind a butterfly I thought might have been a hairstreak. I got back to car park to find Brian had driven off in a huff and it took him an hour to come back :)!!! I was panicking on Monday in case David had failed to find them and they came back alone!!

Thanks for the info re: Bernwood Forest. I've googled it and it looks superb. To be honest at the time I thought it might have been Oversley Wood you had visited as I believe PE's occur there. Its another place on my list of places to go as well as Snitterfield Bushes. Now I have added Bernwood :)

I must check out Ryton Meadows as you say there are directions on Warks BC site. They had an Open Day a week or so back and I did think of going but as usual too many other things took priority.

It looks as though we may get sunnier and warmer weather soon - do hope so. Raining here yet again today :(

By the way I do hope you feel better now?

Chris Rohrer said...

I'm a big fan of the bluebells. You have to make time for these flowers because they don't last long. We have night blooming cactus over here and they last 2 days! You have to get up early or you miss out. And even though I chance being late to work....I always stop to smell the flowers:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks Chris. Scent of bluebells beautiful. Sometimes mingled with scent of wild garlic too :) Your night blooming cactus sounds special :)

Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

Spectacular bulbs!
I had to google stitchwort thought maybe you was pulling my leg... Really thought that you'd taken a macro of chickweed...
How many of those bulbs went home with you?

Ragged Robin said...


Thanks - bluebells especially en masse are such a picture :)
Greater Stitchwort is very pretty.

We already have a lot of bluebells in the garden thank goodness that were here when we moved in hundreds of years ago (well slight exaggeration but a long time ago).

I only take photos. I used to pick wildflowers when I was a child and press them but not these days. No, I don't take bulbs from wild - I think its probably against the law these days over here!!

Glad you liked the flowers :)

BohoPatch said...

Hello Ragged Robin, Regarding Ryton Wood, your photos here seem to be from May 26th of 2013, so I just wanted to ask if Bluebells always run until that date please? I am trying to learn about Bluebells without much success and would love to see a really good display, so wondered if you help me to know more about the times they are out, many thanks.

Ragged Robin said...

BohoPatch - Thanks so much for leaving a comment. To be honest bluebell flowering varies from year to year depending on the weather. They can peak from late April to late May. There are still plenty around locally at the moment. Local ancient woodlands are probably the best place to see them.

If you google National Trust bluebells and visit their website they have suggestions for where to see them at different locations round the UK (I am not sure where you live). Wildlife Trust often has similar information too. I hope you get to see them - displays are stunning and a not to be forgotten experience :)

BohoPatch said...

Hi Ragged Robin :) Thank you so much for your reply. I live nearest to Warwickshire, and have been told that Ryton Wood, Crackley Wood and Brandon Marsh have a Bluebell Wood, but only have limited access to transport, so have to plan a visit. In your vast experience, and given the current weather fluctuations, would you say that any of these three woods may still be flowering until the end of May at all please? I`d really appreciate your wisdom and suggestions on the matter, if that`s ok?

Your photographs are amazing, and I am really enjoying reading your blog :)

Many thanks and kind regards :)

Ragged Robin said...

BohoPatch - Thanks so much for your very kind words on my blog - it is always good to hear from someone who enjoys reading it and seeing the photos :)

Are you using public transport or a car as Ryton Wood and Brandon Marsh (not sure about Crackley Wood as I haven't been!) are probably not easy without a car although may be do-able? If you go to Brandon Marsh ask at Reception for a map - the display I remember from there is new Hare Covert but you could ask them the best place.

I would think in view of the cool weather and the fact that spring flowers seem to be flowering for ages this year there may well still be a good display. But in view of your difficulties with transport I would hate you to have a wasted trip. I have asked a ranger at Ryton Pools country park if he knows if the display in the woods is still worth visiting and if/when he comes back to me I will leave another comment and let you know plus try and describe how to get to the best area for bluebells - its a big wood!!! and we only found them by accident! So come back and check later today or tomorrow. I haven't been to the woods this year so can't go on my experience.

BohoPatch said...

Hi Ragged Robin :) Many thanks for your help and very informative message. I really appreciate you going to the trouble of asking the Ranger at Ryton, and I have listened to all your advice. I was very surprised to hear that the wood is so large that you only came across the Bluebells by accident! Because I wanted to wait to hear if the Ranger had come back to you, my friend and I decided to check out Crackley today, and it was very pretty wood! A very nice little display, some on the wane now, as tree coverage is quite dense already, and we didn`t come across any clearings, however we did manage to get a few nice snaps, and the displays were fairly prolific where they were situated throughout the wood. Thank you once again, for your diligent efforts about Ryton, and we hope to visit there soon :)

BohoPatch said...

PS.. Thank you also for your consideration re the transport. My friend drives, so we were ok thank you. I actually wanted to see if Crackley was serviced by a bus route, but it is not. So it is very perceptive of you to ask, as I think maybe only Brandon may have accessible services, so going by car is going to be essential I feel.

Kind regards :)

Ragged Robin said...

BohoPatch - Thanks so much for letting me know and I am so pleased you and your friend were able to get to Crackley and see what sounds a lovely bluebell display. I noticed on Twitter yesterday that they are still flowering well in Wales at least!!! It does sound a lovely wood and I will have to check it out sometime!

The ranger at Ryton Pools hasn't yet got back to me but if you decided to go looking for bluebells in the woods there either this year or next please let me know and I will try and explain where they are using google maps!! :) Both Ryton Woods and Brandon Marsh are well worth a visit as they are lovely to walk around even out of bluebell season.

My son doesn't drive and I know how difficult it is for him to get to places via public transport especially in the depths of the countryside so am so glad your friend can drive.

Thanks again for getting in touch and hope you continue to enjoy my blog.

Best wishes


Ragged Robin said...

BohoPatch - Hi again. The Ranger from Ryton just got back to me - apparently they are past their best there but he said they were still flowering well elsewhere. So if you were pleased with Crackley Wood it looks as though you made a good decision :)