Each week we will be bringing you some Hidden Gems from around Guildford as part of our ‘Get Lost In…’ feature. This week’s post features a beautiful description of Bluebell Woods from our in-house blogger Charli Aisha Harris.
Many are already familiar with St Martha’s on the hill – a quaint little church perched high above Guildford, overlooking beautiful countryside. St Martha’s is easily accessible from Halfpenny Lane, nestled just up from the top of the town centre. However, there is a lesser known spot mere feet down from the car park of St Martha’s, tucked away on the lane, called the Bluebell Woods. Also known as ‘Chantry Woods’, the Bluebell Woods are a truly beautiful area rich with lush woodland. The great trees of the forest loom high overhead, creating a blanketing canopy that cradles the woods, whilst removing the visitor from the sights and sounds of the outside world.
Made up of approximately 200 acres of mixed woodland and meadows, the Bluebell Woods offer a gentler terrain than that of St Martha’s, with equally as breath-taking views. Upon entering the woodland and strolling up a gentle incline, it is easy to be struck by both the tranquillity of the woodland and the ever present soundtrack of forest life. Expect bird song and rustling branches, undergrowth stirring in the breeze and the snap and crackle of twigs beneath foot or paw as you drink in the peaceful sounds of nature’s playground. The woods are popular with ramblers and of course, dog walkers, but don’t be surprised if you also hear the clip-clop of horses hooves around as the Bluebell Woods are not just popular for those walking on foot, but also for those travelling by hoof!
The forest seems to contain all of the quiet and timeless beauty of a great cathedral, but visitors on a clear day will be greeted by the almost glaring gateway of light where the overshadowed woodland gives way to meadows. Emerging through this break in the trees, the greeting of the meadows is one of awe inspiring views. On the South side they look out over Chilworth and its surrounding areas as the views stretch on for miles, instilling both wonder and awe in all that gaze over them. Strolling from meadow to meadow, past fire pits and benches and looking out over the beautiful Surrey Hills, the walk is relaxing and not too challenging; ideal for families with young children or for those seeking more of a gentle walk than a challenging hike.
The reason that the Chantry Woods is also known as the Bluebell Woods has everything to do with the timing of your visit; if you go during the spring time you will have the chance to witness a truly remarkable demonstration of natural beauty. Thousands upon thousands of bluebells poke their little heads up through the forest floor and erupt into full bloom and the woodland becomes a rich carpet of beautiful blue. This is nature itself arranging a breath-taking display of its own handiwork.
So, come spring time, when you first begin to notice the little green shoots that herald the approach of bluebells in bloom, why not pay a visit to one of Guildford’s many hidden gems? A gentle walk on a clear day, replete with rich woodland and beautiful views from the meadows, is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. And if the timing is right then perhaps you will get to witness the hypnotic explosion of blue through the forest floor.
Charlotte Aisha Harris
Photographed by Emily Murphy