Bluebell bonanza in Northwich Woodlands
Hopyards Wood and Marbury Park are well worth a visit in bluebell season.
A forest floor carpeted with bluebells is one of the most uplifting sights of spring. And whilst every part of Marbury Country Park, Hopyards and the rest of Northwich Community Woodland is well worth exploring throughout the year, in late April/early May, the bluebells are possibly the most spectacular sight. To whet your appetite, here are a selection of photos.
Although many bluebells have hybridised with the Spanish bluebell, these show the characteristic vivid blue, drooping head and creamy-yellow stamens of the English bluebell.
There are many ways to Marbury Country Park: from the centre of Northwich, via the Flashes, along the Trent and Mersey Canal from the Lion Salt Works or Anderton, or from the Comberbach direction. There’s a great map here showing how all these sites meet up: Northwich Woodlands Map.
After your walk, why not visit The Milk House in Comberbach on Marbury Road to buy raw milk or milkshakes at the farm gate from their fantastic vending machine. You can bring your own container to refill. Five minutes’ walk away, free range eggs are available at the farm gate from Ivy Lodge Farm, opposite the Spinner and Bergamot pub.
Big Wood is the section of Marbury Country Park that you’ll find if you walk to Budworth Mere from the car park, and then alongside Forge Brook until you run out of path and have to turn right, up the hill. The point where Forge Brook flows into the Mere is a great place to spot many water birds, including kingfishers. The beech trees coming into leaf are also wonderful at this time of year.
If you’ve walked from Marbury Country Park, when you reach the Trent and Mersey canal, turn right. You are now in Black Wood. Follow the path along and then, when you get to Marbury Lane, turn right, then cross down into Hopyards by one of the many paths.
However, if you’ve walked from Anderton along the canal and crossed into Marbury Park here, you have the choice of turning left to Big Wood or right to Hopyards here!
The bluebells look fantastic on the slopes of Hopyards. It’s worth crossing the bridge and climbing up the hill towards Anderton. There’s also plenty of wild garlic and red campions at the bottom of the hill beside Marbury Brook. English bluebells are such a wonderful vivid blue.