Bluebells at Arger Fen, Suffolk
There are only a few public spaces I feel confident about taking my three ‘spirited’ boys to and Arger Fen in Suffolk is one of them. The trails are perfect for children to roam and run wild, without disappearing. Up for discovering some nature, we couldn’t have hit the bluebells at Arger Fen on a more ideal day. It was one of the first sunny days of May and the birds, butterflies, lizards and bees were out and about celebrating the warmer temperature.
The bluebells at Arger Fen are always magical – the ancient woodland is lined with a vivid blue carpet of spring flowers and this year they seemed to be more abundant than ever, creating an almost surreal purply-blue haze.
Our nature-spotting got off to a good start. The sunshine had brought out the best of Suffolk’s woodland species and in the first half an hour of our walk we had glimpsed a lazy lizard soaking up the rays on a damp tree trunk; spotted a flutter of butterflies, including a brimstone, peacock and speckled wood and heard a cuckoo along with the chorus of spring birdsong. Rare, declining species are said to find refuge here, too, including the hazel dormouse and the barbastelle bat. But they were keeping a low-profile while my three boys darted noisily through the wood.
Arger Fen features a mish-mash of tree – oak, ash, field maple, holly, crab apple and alder. It is also peppered with wildflowers. We picked out the white blooms of wild garlic (the pungent aroma gives it away), the pink leaves of red campion, plus cuckooflower and greater stitchwort.
Arger Fen is well suited to the family ramble. The children can roam ahead of you along the paths (often raised by wooden platforms) and dash across the little bridges, imagining ‘bog trotters’ lurk in the stream beneath. Our boys pretend that the odd dinosaur might be found among the bracken and mare’s tail. There is also a den-making area which can absorb several hours of your day! The walking trails range from about 45 minutes to a couple of hours, so you can choose one to fit your day (or the mood of your kids).
Although you can’t beat the bluebells, Arger Fen is a treasure trove of nature at any time of year. Maintained by Suffolk Wildlife Trust, there are special events throughout the calendar to enjoy the best of the woodland, including Young Wardens for kids, family days and work parties. To find out more, visit suffolkwildlifetrust.org, or suffolkwildlifetrust.org/reserves/arger-fen-spouses-vale. Enjoy!
Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale, nr Assington, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO8 5BN. Map referenceTL 931 353