Rannerdale bluebells


Route: Rannerdale

Area: Western Lake District

Date of walk: 18th May 2018

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 2.0 miles

Ascent: 200 feet

Weather: Weak sun

The bluebells growing in Rannerdale are well known, not only for their profusion, but also because they grow on open fellside – a very unusual habitat for them. I’d made a brief visit yesterday and it was clear that the display won’t last much longer, so I decided to go for a short walk centred on the bluebell area

I parked in the car park at Cinderdale Common and after crossing the beck of the same name climbed up to a grassy path along Rannerdale which in turn leads towards High Rannerdale. I passed through a gate which signifies the start of the bluebell area, on which there is a sign warning people not to trample on the flowers – it’s a sad fact that in the last 4 years 25% of the flowers have been lost thanks to the thoughtlessness of others, who walk over the plants, and even pick them to take home

There’s also a sign ‘Dogs on Lead’ and this prompted an unfortunate incident when I noticed a couple with a dog running around off the lead and potentially amongst the bluebells. I asked them politely if they could please put their dog on a lead. Instead of agreeing they tried to dispute the existence of the sign (as if that was relevant), and it emerged that they hadn’t brought a lead, and claimed their dog was well trained. It’s people like that who spoil it for others – and I told them so. I only wished I could have escorted them from the premises

The sight and the scent of the bluebells soon restored my equilibrium and I wandered up the valley, crossed Squat Beck via the wooden footbridge, and walked along the foot of Rannerdale Knotts, leaving the bluebell area as I did so. The short walk back to the car was along the Buttermere road, where I passed more sheep than cars. It was a pleasant hour well spent, although I wonder if in future the National Trust will need to take more robust measures to protect the bluebells from the selfishness and stupidity of a minority of visitors

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve since been asked by the National Trust (North Lakes) to add this message to my post, and I do so willingly in order to try and help safeguard this wonderful display:

“Rannerdale’s bluebells are renowned as a natural wonder, beloved of visitors and photographers; however, they are being ‘loved to death’. Once the plants are damaged by trampling they can’t photosynthesise enough energy and it can take them years to recover. Over the last 5 years, nearly 25% of the bluebells have been lost. To save the bluebells, and access to them, the National Trust are asking visitors to fight the urge to get in amongst the flowers and just simply stick to the path. Only by protecting them today can we ensure everyone has a chance to enjoy this special spring display in the future.”

Could I please urge anyone following this walk to comply with the message

Previous time here

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