5th May 2014 – Hagbourne Copse, West Swindon
I’m lost for words. Well okay, that’s never going to actually happen. But the expression gives an indication of my surprise at finding out about this delight tucked away behind a busy main road, an industrial estate and the Holiday Inn Express. Well, I’ve only lived here the twenty years so how could I possibly be expected to know eh? Even worse, Hagbourne Copse West Swindon is only 15 minutes walk from my home in Grange Park.
Planted sometime before 1766, the copse once belonged to the Lydiard Estate. It’s now managed by Wiltshire Wildlife who bought the copse in 1999.
In April and May the copse offers a stunning display of native bluebells. Also in springtime you’ll find wood anemones, primroses, early purple orchids and Goldilocks buttercups. All indicate ancient woodland.
Autumn in Hagbourne Copse is good for seeing fungi. Twenty-two species, including the common puffball, sprout from the ground and from tree trunks and branches.
Where to find it
The Power of Social Media
Once more, as with several other instances that have triggered blog posts, it was social media that alerted me to its existence. In this instance a photograph of a friend of mine in the aforesaid copse. Then, as is so often the case, no sooner had I seen that, then photographs of the same copse appeared on Instagram. So clearly I thought, in the manner of Winnie the Pooh, an EXPOTITION was in order.
And what a charming little spot it is. Tranquil isn’t quite the word with the busy road just beyond it. But a haven of nature it most certainly is. When carpeted with a bevy of beautiful bluebells, this little piece of ancient woodland is an absolute delight and makes for a lovely little stroll.
I grew up in Derbyshire. Close to my home there lay an appropriately called Bluebell Wood which, as children, we frequently visited at bluebell time. More years than I care to remember have passed by since I last saw bluebells like this. Just stunning.
‘Bluebell woods are a predominantly British phenomenon as three-quarters of the world’s bluebells are found in these islands.
They occur all over Britain, but whereas most people head for the countryside to enjoy this once-a-year spectacle, Swindon folk don’t need to travel so far… The vast majority of bluebell woods are relics from ancient woodlands, often dating back to the 17th century – and Hagbourne Copse is no exception.‘
See also Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s page about Hagbourne Copse.
And finally – some delightful and tranquil YouTube footage by Andrew Cooper of birds chirruping and bluebells doing their thing in Hagbourne Copse: