Dales Bluebells lead the way


Guests checking in at Settle’s Falcon Manor Hotel this spring should check out some of the finest bluebell displays in the area.

According to Jane Gara, general manager of Falcon Manor, the breakthtaking carpets of blue at nearby Oxenber and Cleatop woods are a “Must See” in May.

Said Jane: “Cleatop Wood, near Settle, offers a lovely circular walk of around four miles from the door of Falcon Manor. A stroll along a green lane and across farmland brings guests to the woodland, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.”

It is 10 minutes in the car to the village of Austwick from where Oxenber Wood can form part of a three to four mile circuit.

Jane said: “Stroll along bridleways and make your way uphill through this pasture of bluebells into the woods where the flowers continue in abundance.

“This is also an excellent wood for seeing primrose and orchids, which are typically out just before the bluebells.”

Bluebells are usually in flower between late April and late May and two different species are commonly found in the Yorkshire Dales – the native bluebell identifiable by its longer stem and white-cream coloured pollen, and the Spanish bluebell.

Some bluebell facts:

• Where native and Spanish bluebells grow close together a hybrid plant can be produced.

• Bluebell bulbs were crushed to provide starch for the ruffs of Elizabethan collars and sleeves. Meanwhile, back in the Bronze Age, bluebells were used to set feathers on arrows: a process known as ‘fletching’.

• Fields of bluebells are said to be intricately woven with fairy enchantments.

• Half the world’s population of bluebells grow in the UK.

Jane added: “Falcon Manor’s dinner, bed and breakfast offers are particularly good value for enjoying a break and experiencing the bluebells while relaxing in stunning surroundings. Keep an eye on www.falconmanor.co.uk for our April/May offers.”

Falcon Manor is part of the James’ Places group of hotels, inns, interior design and hospitality businesses across the Ribble Valley, Yorkshire Dales and South Lakes, all different yet sharing the same service values and ethos.

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