Those who look forward to celebrating the beginning of spring with a stroll through flowering woodland may have to wait a little longer for the striking vision of bluebell carpets to appear, the National Trust has said.

Due to a very chilly March, the coldest since 1996, the growth of the bluebell stalks has been slower than usual, meaning that bluebell flowering is predicted to be three or four weeks away. Wildlife experts have warned that peak flowering may be delayed until mid May or even later.

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Sightings of the bluebell are usually noted as a beginning of the flower bloom leading to summer as Matthew Oates, a Naturalist for the National Trust, explained: ‘The bluebell starts growing in January with its sole purpose to flower before the other woodland plants. However, timing of flowering depends on elevation, latitude, aspect, soils, geology and local climate conditions.

‘The true beauty of our bluebells – the colour, the scent, the view – makes them an essential and special element to our springtime experience.’

This delay may however be a sign of good things to come, Matthew Oates added. ‘There is a really good link between late springs and very good summers, and we are due – overdue – a very good summer’.

Check out Country Life’s best bluebell walks in the UK

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