6 of the best bluebell walks in Kent

Sissinghurst

Sissinghurst - Credit: Archant

Stroll through a sea of blue with Kent Life’s suggestion six of the best bluebells woods in Kent for a spring walk

Scotney Castle

Enjoy swathes of bluebells at Scotney from mid to late April and into early May. The romantic 14th-century moated castle sits within a beautiful wooded estate that spans 770 acres. Enjoy a walk upon one of the three easy-to-follow trails that run through the parkland and woodland. Four-legged friends are very welcome in the estate but must be kept on a lead. Afterwards, stroll around the beautiful gardens (which are a riot of colour and scent, courtesy of rhododendrons, azaleas and wisteria, in late spring) and explore the house.

Mariners Hill

Drink in the panoramic views of the Weald from the top of Mariners Hill and inhale the scent of bluebells in the woods. Enjoy short circular strolls or join the Greensand Way, which runs along the hill’s northern boundary. The Octavia Hill centenary trail west, which commemorates the National Trust’s founder, leads you through her birthplace, Crockham Hill, and encompasses Mariners Hill; the six-mile route can be found on the National Trust website. Chartwell is very close if you fancy exploring Sir Winston Churchill’s 700-year old house, painting studio and hillside garden.

Hucking Estate

Situated within the Kent Downs, this Woodland Trust estate has a good show of bluebells in spring. A mix of ancient woodland, new woodland and chalk grassland, with archaeological remains and gorgeous views over the Weald of Kent, this is a great place for a walk. There are two way-marked trails – a one-miler (the blue route) that begins west of Hucking village (besides the former village pub) and a three-miler (the red route), which begins at the Woodland Trust car park (on Church Road, east of Hucking village). Look out for butterflies (21 species live at Hucking), a 200-year old beech tree (close to the car park) and an ancient herdsmen’s road called The Droveway.

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Hamstreet Woods

The ancient woodland around the village of Hamstreet is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In spring, carpets of bluebells and wood anemones bloom, and wildlife abounds: rare moths and butterflies, dormice and crested newts all make their homes here; and, if you visit at dusk, listen out for the song of the nightingales. This 400-year old wood is the last standing part of the oak forest that once covered the Weald. There are three way-marked trails (of up to 5 km) or, if you fancy a longer stroll, pick up the Saxon Shore Way or the Greensand Way, which both run through here; or find walk routes at hamstreet.info. There is a car park at the end of Bourne Lane and further parking in the village.

Sissinghurst Castle

Sissinghurst Castle Garden is a joy in spring and summer; at this time of year, the Nuttery, the Orchard, the Delos and the Lime Walk especially are a treat. But the surrounding 460-acre estate is also wonderful, producing an indigo explosion of bluebells between April and May. There is a mapped 3-mile walk on the National Trust website, which take 1½ hours and passes through the bluebell wood and the surrounding fields. Afterwards, climb the stairs of Vita’s enchanting writing tower to gaze over the fields you’ve just walked.

Emmetts Garden

This lovely hillside garden is a bluebell wonderland between April and May. The Edwardian estate, now managed by the National Trust, has panoramic views over the Weald and a vibrant spring garden of rhododendrons and azaleas. For a lengthy bluebell adventure, grab your OS map and do a longer stroll that encompasses the surrounding Scords Wood. Alternatively, you can find woodland walk routes in the ticket office, which you are welcome to enjoy with four-legged friends; dogs are allowed in the gardens as well but must be kept on a lead.

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