The warm weather has certainly hastened the bluebells to push their way through; are they earlier than ever or is that just my imagination? However, this annual cycle of colour also brings with it a few dilemmas for those of us dealing with the public. Do we continue to allow walking and dog disturbance in areas of bluebells and accept that this is just part of the public’s perception of access or attempt to seasonally curtail them?
I suspect that you already have your own views and procedures in place but for those that don’t there are two things that I try to do. First, when meeting and greeting folk around the sites I always make a point of asking them, wherever possible, to keep off the bluebells and certainly not to pick them! Secondly, some well placed temporary interpretation boards seem to work quite well. I try to make these informative rather than do’s and dont’s – education rather than discipline; perhaps this just a hangover from my teaching days!
Or do I subscribe to the other viewpoint?
On the other hand, your thoughts may well be that we should be encouraging more access and hence greater opportunities for understanding and conservation in these areas and not worry too much about slight damage to areas ‘just off the path’. What’s better to see than a young family enjoying an afternoon walk amongst the bluebells, children playfully running and picking a few well chosen flowers. Over to you . . .