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  • Writer's pictureWildlife Friendly Otley


May always used to be the Bluebell month, but with climate change we have seen them around Otley for several weeks. As well as creating an attractive carpet of blue in the woods, they also have a strong, sweet fragrance. For the full assault on your senses try Middleton Woods around Curly Hill (maybe after Lockdown). Half the world's Bluebells are here in the UK, and they are a common indicator species for ancient woodlands. However some that you see around Wharfedale will be garden escapees: Spanish Bluebells - the native ones are more delicate, a deeper blue, a little droopy and have the sweet scent. To complicate matters, there are lots of hybrids around now, too. The tough Spanish versions tend to out-compete the native ones, which also go by the names Wild Hyacinth, Cuckoo's Boots, Lady's Nightcap and Witches' Thimbles. Bluebell is one of the words highlighted in the brilliant book "Lost Words" by MacFarlane & Morris.


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