The National Trust Predicts Early Bluebells

By The National Trust, PRNE
Monday, April 11, 2011

SWINDON, England, April 12, 2011 - The National Trust has predicted an early and fantastic display of
bluebells this year following the mild and dry start to 2011.

After an exceptionally cold December, the coldest for more than a
century, bluebells (
are beginning to bloom a couple of weeks earlier than
usual following the mildest February in nearly a decade* and the driest March
for 40 years that had higher than average sunshine levels.**

In 2010 bluebells were emerging up to three weeks late in some parts of
the country - the latest for fifteen years - after the coldest winter for
more than 30 years.

Matthew Oates, a naturalist for the National Trust said: "An absence of
frost in the mild February and March months sped up the flowering process of
the bluebell, though a bit of rain will speed them up further.

"The bluebell starts growing in January with its sole purpose to flower
before the other woodland (
plants which have this year stalled because of
the dry weather. This means that the bluebell is relatively free from
competition and attracts the early spring pollinators.

"Easter weekend looks set to be the peak time to see bluebells in the
south of England but this will vary depending on aspect. Further north, on
high ground and on north-facing slopes the flowering will be later."

To help keep people posted about when bluebells look their best the
National Trust is setting up the first ever interactive Bluebell Watch map on
its website.

The public are being invited to tweet the first part of their postcode
and the hashtag #bluebellwatch to populate the map with sightings,
photography and information on when the best time to see bluebells is.***

Ian Wright, gardens adviser at the National Trust, said: "Bluebells are
true heralds of spring and are a key part of our natural heritage and those
winter blues seem to melt away when bluebells are mentioned.

"The Bluebell Watch map will help us build up a clearer picture in real
time of how bluebells are spreading across the country and will be a useful
tool for anyone wanting to see these majestic carpets of blue stretching off
into the distance."

The National Trust is one of the most important organisations in the UK
for bluebells as a quarter of the Trust's woodland is ancient or
semi-natural; the ideal habitats (
for bluebells to flourish.

(Due to the length of these URLs, it may be necessary to copy and paste
the hyperlinks into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)

The National Trust has also teamed up with the Woodland Trust, along with
other environmental groups, to develop the UK's first woodland website. On
this, 14,000 publicly accessible woods are mapped and, during April and May
visitors can find their nearest bluebell wood by typing in their postcode and
clicking the bluebell symbol. In this way they will be able to keep an even
closer eye on when bluebells start appearing.

Half of the world's population of bluebells can be found in the UK. UK
bluebells are currently at risk of disappearing as a result of hybridizing
with the scentless non-native Spanish bluebell which were often planted in
gardens. (

About the National Trust:

The National Trust is a charity ( with a
statutory duty to preserve places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland
'of historic interest and natural beauty for the benefit of the nation'.

As Europe's largest conservation charity it protect over 350 historic
houses, 160 gardens, 1,100 kilometres of coastline, 254,000 hectares of land
of outstanding natural beauty, six World Heritage Sites, 28 castles and 60
pubs, including many places to visit in London - and give access to them for
people to enjoy.

Notes to editors:

*According to Met Office reports:

**According to Met Office reports:

***Those without Twitter can email the first part of their postcode and
their sightings to

    For further information please contact:

    Steve Field
    Assistant Press Officer
    The National Trust
    Kemble Drive
    SN2 2NA

For further information please contact: Steve Field, Assistant Press Officer, The National Trust, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2NA, +44(0)1793-81-7740

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