Arlington Bluebell Walk Blog 31st March 2017


Arlington Bluebell Walk Blog 31st March 2017

One week before we open for the 45th year!

The weather has such a major influence on how successful each Bluebell Walk turns out, and this year will be no exception! Last year we found we had opened one week too early, as the white wood anemones were just appearing with virtually no bluebells, so when we closed the walk the bluebells still looked good due to a relatively cold spring. This year the reverse is happening! Last week the white wood anemones quickly appeared in profusion, due to the many unusually warm days of March. Beatons Wood now looks stunning with swathes of white as far as the eye can see,



and one can just notice the first bluebells emerging.



This combination of the white flowers against the green leaves of the bluebells with the sun shining through the bare tree branches is magical, and I so regret that nature can’t pause for just one week, so those who love the delicate anemone flowers can see them at their best.


Some changes for this year

Here are a few photos of the changes you will see when you visit this year. We have put new boards round the Animal Barn and as you walk to The Gate House, you are bound to see a 4×8 foot blown up photograph taken by Pete Goldsmith (, who for some years has produced iconic images taken around Beatons Wood and they will be on sale as greeting cards, canvases or framed enlargements. The one you will see was taken by Pete at 5.00am by the Lower Pond with the early sun shining through the trees, and one can virtually feel the sunshine even on a cold day. I think it is just spectacular!



On the opposite wall we have had a new leaflet rack built, based on a brilliant design seen at Sissinghurst, which prevents the leaflets bending forward in damp weather.



My nephew Duncan McCutchan planned and built the new steps to the toilets, so they echo the smaller ones he built leading to the Old Granary.



This picture of the enlarged kitchen shows the ample space that the various charities will have with their food preparation. The dishwasher is now sited on the far wall and, with the addition of tray trollies, will mean easier working conditions.



Looking forward to a dry start

It is surprising just how much there is to do in these last few days before we open, especially with the many changes we are introducing. We look forward to another successful Bluebell Walk and that, once the bluebells appear, the weather is not too hot. Otherwise the leaves on the trees quickly emerge and start reducing the light that keeps the bluebells upright. We are virtually certain that this year we will not have the problems we experienced in 2016 with visitors’ cars finding our car park field boggy in that first week. In fact this year with the reduced amount of rain we have had over the winter, the worry is that we may experience water shortages in the summer.


I started this post with the weather and finish on the same important topic. Being a farmer, the role of the weather so often is the difference between it being a successful or disappointing year, which is exactly the same when running a Bluebell Walk!


Next blog post

There will be no monthly blog in April and May whilst we are open, but instead each Friday starting on the 7th April, I will publish a short summary on The About Page of our website, reporting on how the bluebells are actually looking, then trying to forecast their growth for the forthcoming week, which is not easy!

John McCutchan

This message was added on Friday 31st March 2017

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