Bluebells at Beverley End – Vanessa 10.05.2020
The Weather Elves have been working overtime ensuring we have some sunshine in our lives during these strange times. We have had lovely weather for such a long time now it’s been like summer in spring. The world is in turmoil, our lives are upside down and new routines have been formed yet Mother Nature is constant. We have been on several more walks since my last little blog but I thought I’d share the prettiest and most fragrant with you today… Bluebells at Beverley End.
We go for a bluebell walk every year, and despite this year’s restrictions we are lucky enough to be able to continue our tradition as the woodland with one of the most wonderful displays is only a five minute walk from our front door, down in Jumble Hole.
As I’ve mentioned previously, Jumble Hole Clough is one of my favourite places to walk. It’s a steep sided wooded valley which was formed by a fast flowing stream that joins the River Calder down below in Hebden Bridge, and is a peaceful, fascinating place. Like most of the cloughs in the Upper Calder Valley, it was once a hive of industry with four mills along the length from Staups at the top, to Jumble Hole at the bottom, busy making bobbins, spinning cotton and dyeing silk.
Remains of this industry can still be seen hidden in the undergrowth, mill walls camouflaged with moss and wires worn thin by the ravages of time and neglect. I recently learned that the river also forms the old boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire…I live on the Yorkshire side!
A little way down is Beverley End. A beautiful spot with remains of buildings now overgrown, built into the hillside with two small meadows infont, the only bit of flat open ground in this magical woodland. This is a favourite spot for all our family. When our boys were younger we’d walk down for picnics on sunny days and even now that he’s grown my eldest son often takes a walk here just to sit and read in peace.
I’ve often wondered about the people who lived in this tiny hamlet in time gone by. Records mention that it was used as a spring and summer residence, and I’ve been told by Dorothy, the elder stateswoman of our village with a wealth of local knowledge, that the meadows were once used as tentering fields, areas where locally woven pieces were stretched and straightened as part of the finishing process.
But enough of the history… ‘where are the bluebells?” you ask. Well, they’re here…in abundance! With the help of sunshine and a small amount of rain, Mother Nature has created magic. Suddenly in bloom at the same time, swathes of bluebells and wild garlic emit a heady yet fresh fragrance of spring. Here the ground has elaborately terraced walls underneath tall trees and contains niches that were once used for bee skeps – beehives made out of rope or wicker. Today they are the perfect canvas for nature to create an impressionist painting in shades of lilacs, blue green and white, bluebells and wild garlic jostling for pole position in the dappled sunlight beneath the fresh green canopy.
This is a most magical time and place. I could sit and never leave. Just sit and breathe in the heady, sweet fragrance, losing myself in the delicate beauty and colour. There are many ancient folk tales around bluebells, and the woodlands they fill with a purple haze, woven with fairy enchantments. Bluebells are said to be used by these mischievous little people to trap humans, easy to believe as you sit almost bewitched amongst these enchanting flowers. It is also said that if you hear a bluebell ring, you will be visited by a bad fairy, and will suffer bad luck not long after. And beware anyone who dares to pick a bluebell! Some believe that this will cause you to be led astray by fairies, wandering lost forevermore in unfamilar woodland! I listened carefully, but all I could hear was birdsong and the rustling of leaves in the gentle breeze so I guess I’m safe. And as for picking bluebells? Well they are far more beautiful left where they grow for all to admire.
My camera at the ready I always get quite carried away. I have probably taken hundreds of photos here in the past yet I never tire of it. Each year brings fresh excitement as the bluebells and wild garlic show signs of life. I find the Bluebell Steps particularly fascinating, why were they built? Was it originally an interior staircase or an exterior set of steps to a humble dwelling? The rest of the architecture is long gone beneath brambles and ferns so I can only imagine what it may have looked like and create images in my mind. I’ve used photos of these bluebell steps and the bee skeps on both cards and the pouches, tote bags & cushions I create for Heart Gallery. The words of Anne Brontë are so apt – There is a silent eloquence in every wild bluebell that fills my softened heart with bliss, that words could never tell.
And from her sister, Emily, words that describe “my” Bluebell Steps at Beverly End, a positive thought, a reminder that we still have sunshine before the dark days return – Winter is not here yet….. There’s a little flower, up yonder, the last bud from the multitude of bluebells that clouded those turf steps with a lilac mist…
In the language of flowers, bluebells are a symbol of humility, constancy, gratitude and everlasting love. It is no wonder that the sisters, living in the bleak landscape moorland above Haworth looked forward to the appearance of these beautiful, delicate yet hardy little flowers symbolising the onset of spring and fresh hope. Fresh hope is something I think we all yearn for during these difficult times.
Legend states that if you turn a bluebell flower inside-out without tearing it, you will win the one you love, and if you wear a wreath of bluebells you will only be able to speak the truth. I feel blessed that I have the one I love with me on these walks, waiting patiently as I run around like an excitable child taking photos of yet more bluebells because, naturally, they are all different. Neither do I need to wear bluebells when I say that this precious little edge of the Clough is Heaven on earth, a magical fairy kingdom…. that is the truth.
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