Perivale park is blessed with no less than three local nature reserves within walking distance. Of these, Perivale wood is the oldest and largest and is famed for its display of English bluebells. Normally only open one day a year to protect the plants, this year the Selborne Society, who look after the wood, have opened it on four “socially distanced” days in April.
Recent cold weather has meant that it is not quite at its peak in mid April, although as little as 25 years ago it rarely reached this peak until May.
We have visited the wood quite a few times, but this year our senses seemed highly “tuned up” to our environment as a result of spending more time than previous years “out and about”. The English variety is scented and if you concentrate you can certainly detect it easily (it is not overwhelming). But we could not help but notice this year that the Bluebells had distinct competition in the form of Greater and/or Lesser Celandine. The former is in the poppy family and the latter in the buttercup family. Certainly Celandine of either variety is having a spectacular year, popping up everywhere! The Selborne society has also placed several insect hotels along the paths, which are also gaining in popularity.
Seeing the wood in all its glory reminds one that at one stage, HS2 was going to turn the wood into a construction depot. Now, its going in a tunnel below the area of the wood itself and the wood has been spared. Perhaps in future years the silence of the wood might be punctuated by the rumble of the trains passing underneath the wood? But for a few years more you can enjoy the peace and quiet of a scented English Bluebell wood .