Thursday, 31 March 2016

Bluebells and angles

It was another beautiful day in the Chilterns, so Bug Mad Girl and I went for a walk (the dog ran for most of it) around the Sculpture Trail.

The bluebells were really starting to open, although they were still far from being at their best. They still haven't flowered enough to make a 'blue carpet' on the floor of the woods, but they're on their way. The UK is home to about half of the world's bluebells and some of the best displays occur in our bluebell woods. They really are lovely!

Bluebells are an indicator of ancient woodland and are steeped in folklore. Apparently if you hear a bluebell ring, it's a sign of impending death. Luckily, we didn't hear any ringing today! Although in the language of flowers it's the symbol of everlasting love.

bluebell flowers are an important early nectar source for bees and other insects. Some bees 'steal' the nectar by making a hole in the base of the flower so they can reach the pollen without pollinating the flower.

Bluebells have been used for all sorts of things throughout history. In the bronze age, bluebell glue was used to stick feathers to arrows. The Victorians stiffened their collars with the starch extracted from crushed bluebell bulbs and bluebell sap used to be used to bind pages to the spines of books.

There were also a few violets lining the path. They're much easier to overlook than the bluebells, but no less pretty.

Bug Mad Girl gave me a lesson in angles as she looked out for right angles and acute angles in everything. You've got to love a bit of maths practice as you walk around the woods!
Acute angle

Right angle
The path leads through the woods, where there are some great trees to climb and dens to explore.

Some of the dens are huge and must have taken a lot of work to build.

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