Weekly Photo Challenge: English Bluebells of Spring

Mintern Magna, Dorchester April, 2014 (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Mintern Magna, Dorchester, Spring 2014
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Home-Thoughts, From Abroad
‘Oh to be in England
Now that April’s there
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
White the Chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
in England – now!’
And after April, when May follows…’

Robert Browning – 1812 – 1899

To read the rest of the poem, click here.

Browning wrote this poem as a homesick traveller longing for memories of home.  I remember how much I missed the seasons when I lived in California and this reminds me to never take for granted where you live.

I longed to feast my eyes on the English countryside (which is not to say I wasn’t in awe of the majesty of the wild beauty of California, far from it) but for me to be able to take a walk through the woods on an English spring day when the breeze is warm, clouds gather overhead warning of impending rain, yet hold off for a few hours and the trees whisper amongst themselves as they conspire with the birds, is a gift I readily accept.

Path to Duncliffe Woods, Dorset (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Path to Duncliffe Woods, Dorset
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

How perfect then that the theme for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘Spring!’  I had plans to post some flower photos on Friday but they went pear-shaped (my plans, not the flowers).

Getting ready for a long weekend and having my boy home for three days had me bashing elbows with my fellow grocery shoppers, which is the price I paid for leaving it so late.  Still, it’s all worth it isn’t it?

So back to ‘Spring!’.  The challenge asks:

‘Share a photo which describes what spring means to you’. 

In this case I would have to say that spring means a wood full of bluebells, and I’m so happy that we were able to get a walk in this weekend to see them before they disappear.

There is just the place, Duncliffe Wood, which lies a few miles west of Shaftesbury in Dorset and which is managed by The Woodland Trust.  The Trust’s vision, as taken from their website is :

‘A UK rich in woods and trees, enjoyed and valued by everyone.’

A personal note here:  My dear Granny, who lived to be 94, has three trees grown in her honour as donated by the family to The Woodland Trust.  They keep a catalogue of all the trees planted and grown in memoriam of loved ones, so the Trust has a special place in my heart.

I always think of my Granny in an extra-special way every time I take a walk through these woods…

Duncliffe Wood then, is old!  It’s mentioned in The Domesday Book of 1086 and contains ancient lime trees, some between 600 and 1,000 years old.  Another little snippet of history for you history lovers out there! (Source credit: Wikipedia)

Entrance to Duncliffe Woods, Dorset UK (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Entrance to Duncliffe Woods, Dorset UK
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

The Trust seems to have created a specific trail for young families with signs along the way  showing how to recognise certain  flora and wildlife.

Here is an example:

Notice the middle sign is asking for volunteers to help with Owl Box Monitoring Training!  Sounds fascinating don’t you think?

Along the way, a delightful hideaway.  Looks like the kind of den we built as kids down the lane where we once lived.  We spent hours playing inside it.  Them were the days, eh?

Duncliffe Woods, Dorset (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Duncliffe Woods, Dorset
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Now for the bluebells:

 

This is what Spring means to me, as I walked through the woods:

God’s Bluebell

Rustling waves of wood-green
Among the throng, yet unseen
of birds trilling on the wind
To usher in May-time’s scene.

As heaven’s-blue cast on the swell
of damp, soft earth and does compel;
So write I must and burst with joy!
Caught up in rapture of God’s Bluebell.

(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Photos taken with my phone (Android) because I forgot my camera…

More flower photos tomorrow, the ones I had planned for Friday! I’m also winding my way to you all, slowly.  Happy Spring Day my friends 🙂

 

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Nature & Wildlife, Poems, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: English Bluebells of Spring

  1. The bluebells are beautiful Sherri! I am pretty sure that despite the weekend being hectic for you, you had a wonderful time. Wishing you wonderful week!

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    • Sherri says:

      It was a lovely weekend thanks Jhanis, as always with my chicks! Thank you, really glad you enjoyed the bluebells and you have a wonderful week too 🙂

      Like

  2. cardamone5 says:

    So beautiful, Sherri! Thanks for sharing. And I’m sure your grandma was watching over you, shining with love 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you very much Elizabeth, that is so kind of you! She has been gone 12 years now and I think of her a great deal, I was blessed to have her in my life for so long 🙂

      Like

  3. longandluxe says:

    Happy spring day dear Sherri! What a beautiful beautiful post! I love these photos and your lovely words. Thank you for letting us in with the warm breezes!!

    Peace, always ~ Allison xo

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    • Sherri says:

      So glad that you felt the peace and quiet of these beautiful woods breeze over you with such warmth! Thank you dear Allison and may you have a Happy Spring Day and week ahead :-)xo

      Like

  4. Nature so amazing beautiful! Blooms that brings close all the happy memories of places we’d been, people we shared our laughter, of a home that will always be a part of us. Bluebells that lights up our day. Thanks for sharing a magical journey. A blessed day to you my friend.

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    • Sherri says:

      Nature is so beautiful isn’t it? I do love how the bluebells bring their unique spring-beauty to this time of year, May is a wonderful month as everything is truly bursting into full bloom and so bringing great blessing into our lives. Bless you dear friend and thank you so much for walking with me through the bluebell woods…:-)

      Like

  5. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing your sentiment, Sherri. The bluebells are so beautiful through your lens.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Amy, I’m so glad that you enjoyed these photos and the sentiments, although I was cross with myself for forgetting my camera 😉

      Like

  6. Oh Sherri what a beautiful post. I love Dorset and the photos of the woods and bluebells are magnificent. Your poem just finishes the post off exquisitely.
    I really felt the joy of Spring in your post.
    Glad you had a lovely weekend x

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Brenda, I’m so glad that you felt the joy! Dorset has so much to offer doesn’t it? A really beautiful part of the world…thank you so much and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, even thought it’s already Wednesday (how did that happen??) 🙂 xx

      Like

  7. Fields of bluebells are a sight to see. They are so delicate and yet so brave to take on this task of enhancing spring. Your photos do them proud as does your enchanting poem. ~(*_*)~~

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes, I love how you put it, so eloquently as always…’so delicate and yet so brave to take on this task of enhancing spring’. That’s beautiful, wish I’d thought of that, haha!! Thanks so much Tess, so glad you enjoyed and the poem too…that means an awful lot… ~(* _ *)~ (see what you’ve started, now I’m going to have to come up with a face of my own!!) 😉 :-

      Like

      • Ha ha. Aren’t we having fun? What’s to stop us anyway?
        Thank you, Sherri. You always make my day. You are a generous soul. ❤ ❤

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      • Sherri says:

        That’s right, what’s to stop us? We can have as much fun here as we want, it’s great!! You always make my day too Tess…I would do hearts too (how do you do those anyway?) if I could!!!
        Love your new pic and hairstyle, very flattering 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  8. Heyjude says:

    Shame on you forgetting your camera 🙂 Just as well you had your phone on you! What a lovely way to spend time with the family walking through bluebell woods. You are so lucky to see so much of your boys. This would be a lovely ‘Jo’s Walk’ too, and I love the idea of planting trees in memory of a loved one. I look forward to the flowers; you know I will 🙂
    Jude xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I know Jude, I was very cross with myself… 😉
      It was lovely to get the walk in, as you know last weekend it was too muddy and wet (not that we’re wimps, but it is quite a steep climb up the hill to get to the top and into the woods so it would have been very slippery indeed!!)
      I actually had my eldest son home for Easter and then Nicky this past weekend which is lovely but I haven’t seen my kids all together since Christmas. I haven’t seen the California pics either yet, hoping to at the end of the month. It seems to go in waves, but yes, I never take their visits for granted…
      Jo would enjoy theses bluebells I hope, she is away still isn’t she?
      Flowers coming up a bit later on, especially for you… 🙂 xx

      Like

  9. tieshka says:

    How nice to have three trees in the woods you frequent dedicated to your granny! It must be a special place to visit.

    You know what? I don’t miss not having seasons living in Southern California at all. If it were sunny all the time I’d be okay with it. With that being said I can see how you’d miss the seasons though. You are so lucky to have lived both in the UK and the USA. Enjoy your son’s visit.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tieshka, thank you and yes, I’m so glad that as a family we did that, Granny was a great nature lover and would have been very pleased 🙂
      I can fully understand just how you feel, I only ever met one other person like me over in California who lamented the absence of seasons and got fed up with it being sunny all the time. We kept it quiet as everyone else thought we were nuts, lol!!
      Yes, I consider it a great privilege to have had the chance in life to live in both wonderful countries.
      Have a great week 🙂

      Like

  10. Oh Sherri, your posts are like a gentle breeze coming through my computer. The photos along with your muse are so beautiful. I love the photos of Bluebells, but there is something so mysterious and magical about the Duncliffe Woods photos.
    You have me homesick for the English countryside and I’ve never been! DFD loved it! xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh..thank you so much Jill, I’m so glad to hear this! You are so right though, there really is something very mysterious and magical about Duncliffe Woods, I feel it every time I go there. I could spend hours there, a wonderful place to let the old creative juices flow!! Wish I could move my summerhouse there, haha 😉
      That’s so nice of DFD, please tell him that I’m so glad he enjoyed it too. Maybe he can talk you into a little trip over here one of these days and Duncliffe Woods would be first on the agenda with me as your tour guide… 😉
      Hope you are having a good week Jill! xoxoxo

      Like

  11. I love traveling along with you, Sherri! You can make a weed look breathtaking! Those are some great pics from your phone. 🙂 I love the poems as well. Ahhhhh. Feeling good and relaxed now. Gracias!

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    • Sherri says:

      HaHa! Oh you have me laughing again Maria – ‘even a weed look breathtaking!’ !! Since I’m not great telling the difference a lot of the time it’s probably just as well lol 😉 Seriously though, I’m so glad you enjoyed the pics, thank you and also so much for the poem too, means a lot that… and also to know you feel nice and relaxed now! Great to have you come along. Gracias mi amigo…(hope I got that right>!) 🙂

      Like

  12. lilkaraphael says:

    There really is no place like home. Your photos of the your English woods and countryside are beautiful. It is amazing how no matter where we go, certain places and images always evoke that warm fuzzy feeling. I enjoyed the brief journey and bluebells. Lilka 🙂

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  13. Gorgeous photos, gorgeous words, gorgeous Sherri! 🙂 X

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…well, I’m so glad you enjoyed it gorgeous Jo!! Always makes me smile from ear to ear to know you’re ‘here’…and I hope you are having a good week! Hugs… 🙂 xx 🙂

      Like

  14. jennypellett says:

    Bluebells are definitely a harbinger of spring Sherri and your photos are fab – how wonderful our phones are these days. I seem to use mine for everything except making or taking a call. In fact, I have trouble actually answering mine!
    I just love the idea of being an owl box monitor – the last time I was a monitor for anything was when I was in charge of the class paint brushes, aged about five.

    Glad you had a good weekend with your boy – Duncliffe Woods look just lovely at this time of year for a family stroll, and bluebells don’t last too long so you caught them just right. Did they smell heavenly?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Jenny, yes it was a lovely time, so glad I caught the bluebells this year (and yes, their unique scent did indeed fill the air, very lightly as it was quite breezy but in a good way) although I was very cross at myself for forgetting my camera, as you say, thank goodness for mobile phones although I resisted getting a smart phone until only very recently but glad I did now! Although it does me in in other ways but that’s another story – a blog post methinks!!! -but yes, I do know just what you mean!
      I know, ‘Owl Box Monitor’! Can you imagine how wonderful that would be? You get free training to take part as a volunteer. HaHa, well, the last time I was a monitor would have been my days as a milk monitor…if that doesn’t date me I don’t know what does, 😉
      PS How are you feeling? I hope you got to enjoy the long weekend and some of our lovely sunshine… 🙂 x

      Like

      • jennypellett says:

        Ah, the milk monitor! That ghastly milk – ours was always watery with blocks of ice in it and the silver tops pecked off by the birds. One good thing Mrs Thatcher did was get rid of that disgusting muck!

        Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, THAT milk, haha!! I once made the mistake of drinking one that had been left over from the morning run and it had gone off left out in the heat…never again 😉

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  15. Rachel M says:

    Beautiful photos, Sherri. I’m looking forward to returning to the UK!

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  16. bulldog says:

    What a lovely share… and I love the photos… (short comment as nothing wants to go through today)

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  17. Thank you for sharing – this brings back so many memories. I never saw Duncliffe Woods, but it is now on the list for us to visit. Beautiful, I loved it, Susan x

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    • Sherri says:

      He Susan, thank you very much! You will love Duncliffe Woods, they are quite beautiful and very mysterious! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post 🙂

      Like

  18. mumblypeg says:

    Your post is delightful in all ways. Lovely photos of the special bluebells. I can almost smell them! Your poem is full of joy and appreciation of nature’s gifts. A truly great response to ‘Spring’ love and hugs xxx

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    • Sherri says:

      Hello MP, so glad you enjoyed the photos, they didn’t come out too badly but I would have preferred to have had my camera 😉 So glad too you liked my little poem, thank you!! It came to me as we were walking along. I could have stayed there much longer and we picked a good time to go, no rain, a nice warm breeze so not too hot and not too many people and it was nice to see families out and about with their kids enjoying the new trail.
      Love and hugs & sps back 🙂 xxxxxxx

      Like

  19. jenniferkmarsh says:

    Beautiful post, Sherri, as always 🙂 And such beautiful photos! How I love English woodland – they make my soul fly! The American landscapes are unbelievably breathtaking and amazing, but as you say, I would miss the English countryside sooooooo much. So much. There is nothing quite like the English countryside 🙂 So humble, so special. Or, at least special to the those who call it home!

    England’s green and pleasant land truly comes alive in the spring 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Jenny Jen Jen, and oh yes, I do know how much you love nature and all things growing 🙂 That is a great way to put it about English woodlands… ‘they make my soul fly’!! I adored the Californian landscape, such a wealth of beauty and majestic variety but yes, I was very homesick for my English countryside. It really is England’s green and pleasant land… 🙂

      Like

  20. The way you have mixed the poems and your own experiences through your writing is lovely and moving. Memories of places are such a complex mix of feelings. Your photos are as always terrific and would make anyone want to be in England righ now. I can almost smell the trees, the moss and flowers and feel the shade on my shoulders.
    You must be so happy to see your sons for three days. Worth the groceries bags and the cooking.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Evelyne! I’m very happy to know that you enjoyed both the photos and the writing and that you joined me for this little walk through some English woodland! And yes, it was a lovely treat to have my family home, definitely worth hitting up the grocery store for (not my most favourite thing to do but a necessity, as you know only too well…) and yes, a lot of cooking… 🙂

      Like

  21. A perfect blend of poetry and personal experiences, Sherri. I could begin each day with coffee and quiet moments enjoying “Path to Duncliffe Woods, Dorset”–there is something so calmly vivid, inviting and inspiring about that picture. Wonderful!
    Thank you.
    (I’m in Kansas with my mother, and I REALLY appreciate this entire post.)

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh Marylin, I hope things are going well with you and your mom in Kansas, I thought you must be back there. Boy, time flies doesn’t it, it seems you were only just back home…
      Soooo glad you enjoyed this walk with me along the path to Duncliffe Woods. I’ll always think of you now whenever I take that path… 🙂 It really is so calm there, really inspiring and restful just to slowly wonder through, although a good work-out too as it is quite hilly, so the best of both worlds! The woods open up to green fields at the top which give such a wonderful feel of privacy and quiet. 🙂
      Praying…

      Like

  22. thirdhandart says:

    Your beautiful poem is the perfect compliment to the gorgeous bluebells. I too prefer to take photos with my camera, but our Androids certainly suffice in a pinch. Thank you for the lovely spring walk in Duncliffe Woods Sherri!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Theresa, I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem as well as the photos, and yes, the Android isn’t too bad is it?
      So glad to have you along for this spring walk through the woods, anytime 🙂

      Like

  23. Imelda says:

    Oh..walking in the woods waking to spring seems such a lovely and romantic thing to do. I’ve only seen such things in books and stuff.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I’ve always enjoyed walking through the woods but since the bluebells are out for such a short time in May, I was determined to get a walk in while before they ‘go over’. The sight of them is really so breathtaking. They grow on verges and roadsides here and there but when you see them clumped together like this it is like a magical, blue carpet. Thank you Imelda, I’m so glad you enjoyed this little walk with me, in the spring time… 🙂

      Like

  24. Beautiful photos Sherri ‘heaven’s blue cast on the swell’ – lovely image. I’ve had my bluebells in small doses, but however they appear, they’re one of nature’s highlights. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much Andrea, how lovely of you to mention it. Bluebells are really spectacular aren’t they? So glad I got to get these photos in before they disappear and I’m so glad that you’ve seen some too. It’s always wonderful to come across them even if just a few, they really are ‘nature’s highlights’ … 🙂

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  25. What a wonderful walk you have taken me on Sherri. The Bluebells were beautiful and the woods a wonderful place to wander. Thanks for sharing your spring. Cheers Irene

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  26. Happy Spring to you, Sherri! What uplifting pictures and words! So glad you’re enjoying the season.

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  27. Noreen Watts says:

    Very nice……loved the pictures also

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