Cumbernauld Glen Bluebells c Katrina Martin

It turns out people who are trying to get the perfect photo of a bluebell are in danger of killing them off.

The UK woodlands are home to approximately 50% of the world’s population of bluebells, which are incredibly delicate and beautiful flowers.

Cumbernauld’s wildlife reserves, including Cumbernauld Glen, Seafar Wood and Luggiebank, feature dazzling displays of these plants, which have taken centuries to colonise in our town through a symbiotic relationship with ancient oak woodlands. Walking off the paths puts our native bluebell at risk of being destroyed by trampling.

Cumbernauld Living Landscape has held a number of bluebell walks over the years. During these events I always have to regularly remind people not to walk off the path. These bluebells are vitally important plants for pollinators especially when during the false starts to spring that we have experienced here in recent years.

Certain plants can shut off systems if a leaf of branch is broken, diseased or cut, this isn’t the case with our native bluebell. Damage sustained is damage retained. While this may sound like a soundbite for a party-political broadcast the fact is that bluebells cannot recover as well as other plants.

If the bluebell cannot get enough nutrients drawn down to the bulb it may die. The end result could be year after year of failed seasons just because someone wanted a perfect picture.

Our top tips for exploring a bluebell wood responsibly are to stick to the paths and keep dogs on the lead in these areas. There are other, less sensitive places to let them roam. There are loads of bluebells along the pathways, which let you get that great photo without causing any damage.

Let’s do the right thing for nature and ensure our children can experience the joy of seeing bluebells in years to come.

Tracy Lambert, Project Officer

Tracy Lambert