Where to spot British Wildflowers in Spring

WOODLAND FLOWERS

You don't have to look hard if you know where to start. Woods are an ideal place to find wildflowers, which are crucial to the woodland ecosystem. Plants on the woodland floor tend to spring up first, sometimes as early as late winter, before the canopy closes overhead.

For many people, it is the vivid bluebell - frequently voted the nation's most loved flower - that comes to mind when thinking of springtime flowers. Britain has an amazing 70 per cent of the world's bluebell population, and from mid April to late May, the flowers take over vast areas of woodland, dazzling walkers and proving an unbelievable natural spectacle.

Contributing to this stunning display is a whole host of spring flowers, including the common dog violet, garlic mustard and yellow archangel.

Lily of the valley, a firm favourite with gardeners, can also be seen blooming across woodlands. Simple yet elegant, this sweet-scented gem, with pretty bell-shaped flowers, blooms throughout spring and early summer.

Keep an eye out for the early purple orchid too, a beautiful and rare plant that tends to flower between April and June.

April is also the best time to catch showers of wood anemone, a member of the buttercup family whose star-shape form is instantly recognisable; look out for the five white petals, sometimes with a pinkish tinge, framed by divided dark green leaves.

Another springtime favourite is the pale blue forget-me-not, often found flowering along the woodland edge. Don't let their fragile exterior fool you - forget-me-nots are stubborn little plants that can survive all kinds of weather, from storms, rain and frost, and, as their name suggests, they grow back year after year.

Many of The Epicurean Collection inns are located close to beautiful woodland. The Cotswolds is known for its stunning bluebell displays, with Frith Wood Nature Reserve and Siccaridge Wood easy drives from The King's Arms, in Didmarton, or The Trout at Tadpole Bridge, in Faringdon.

For those exploring the coastline, Hampshire's New Forest is on the doorstep from seaside inns, such as The Mayflower at Lymington, with ample opportunities to see springtime woodland flowers at their best.

MEADOW FLOWERS

The English countryside is also rich in meadows, which are home to may springtime favourites. Late summer is often viewed as the best time to see meadows and fields in bloom, but these green spaces come alive in spring, boasting an array of native flora, including daisies and buttercups, as well as butterflies, bumblebees and birds.

From April, the butter yellow cowslip can be seen in abundance, sure to transport walkers to nostalgic childhood days via their pretty appearance and lingering, apricot smell.

Look out for the bell-shaped pasque perennial too, recognisable through its purple petals. If you're lucky, you might also spot wild orchids growing - many varieties spring up from April across England's meadows; the Cotswolds is a particularly good spot to catch them.

By early June, meadows become a vibrant display of yellow, blue and red, with the first of the poppies and glorious, electric-blue cornflowers.

An hour from The Museum Inn at Farnham, Dorset's Kingcombe Meadows is an absolute delight at this time of year, with cowslips and bluebells taking over the grasslands.

Back in the Cotswolds, you're a stone's throw from Cricklade, a pretty Wiltshire town with the charming Cricklade North Meadow, which boasts snake's head fritillary from April to May. This stunning and unusual plant typically grows in meadows alongside rivers, featuring a purple flowers with a chequered pattern.

HEDGEROW FLOWERS

Also keep an eye on the British hedgerow, which is home to all sorts of wildflowers. From May, roadsides and walking paths foam with green and white cow parsley, one of the better-known wild plants, whose delicate lace-like quality means that it is often called Queen Anne's lace.

For daffodil fans, you will see the sun-yellow symbol of spring pop up alongside roadside verges as early as late winter, but in spring they really shine. The national symbol of Wales, the daffodil is also the County Flower of Gloucestershire.

For those exploring the villages of Dymock and Newent, there's a dazzling display of wild woodland daffodils - with the beautiful footpath 'The Daffodil Way' running through woods, orchards and meadows and proving particularly photogenic during May. Stay at The Lion Inn, near Cheltenham, to see the daffs are their very best.

Be sure to make the most of the UK's wonderful wildflowers this spring and summer, and let us know how you get on along the way!

Words: Anna Jamieson