In search of bluebells
I am very lucky to work in a beautiful location, Nanteos Mansion, a grade I listed Georgian mansion nestled in woodlands just outside the town of Aberystwyth.
Yesterday we stopped in for a spot of lunch, giving me the opportunity to explore the beautiful surroundings, something I haven’t done nearly as often as I would like despite having worked here for many years now!
Whilst the building and interior is clearly very grand and photogenic, I have to admit I am much more drawn to the grounds themselves and the nature to be found here. The mansion is nestled within 30 acres of woodland, a perfect habitat for species of birds including finches, woodpeckers, blackcaps, flycatchers, grey wagtails and many more.
The woods are also home to the elusive nightingale, for which the mansion gets it’s name. (Nant-eos, translates as stream of the nightingale).
With lots of unspoiled woodland the area is also the ideal habitat for one of Britain’s most iconic spring flowers, the bluebell. It was these fabulous blooms that I was most keen to photograph today and fortunately they were not hard to find.
Clusters of these bright blue drooping flowers add a pop of colour among the greenery and can be found in all corners of the estate including deep within the Old Warren Hill nature reserve.
Whilst I am sadly unable to explore much of the reserve due to my physical limitations I did find a beautiful patch of bluebells growing along the banks of the lake, which welcomes you in on the sweeping drive up to the mansion building.
Thankfully all the bluebells here would appear to be the native variety. These are often mistaken for Spanish bluebells which are increasingly common and widespread. These invasive species are a threat to the native bluebells due to cross breeding and hybridisation.
Native bluebells are identified by their highly curved stems with flowers on one side, curved blue petals and white/cream pollen.
Spanish bluebells and hybrids have flowers growing all around the stem, stems can vary from straight to curved and the pollen can be anything from white to blue. This plant below appears to be a hybrid of the spanish and native species.
It can be tricky to identify them at a glance so here is a handy illustration to make things a little easier!
(left) Native bluebells (centre) Native/spanish hybrids (right) Spanish bluebells
— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © www.greyfeatherphotography.com
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