Oxenber Woods, near Austwick, is one of the best places to view wild flowers. In particular the spectacular display of bluebells in late Spring (usually May). Oxenber Woods sits on a small hill of exposed limestone bringing out the very best in wild flowers. The views over Crummockdale aren’t half bad as well!
The walk to see the bluebells at Oxenber Woods is usually completed from Austwick. It is quiet short but can be easily extended to include the pretty village of Wharfe and Feizor. Feizor has the additional benefit of a stop at the excellent Elaine’s Tea Shop. The approach from Austwick is along a countryside road and path before a gate and information sign mark the entrance to this protected area. A path climbs through the woods from south to north (my preference) with the display of flowers all around.
The best time to visit is late spring. I completed the walk in early May, the bluebells were yet to really impress (thus there are more photos of Wood anemones and primroses). However there was a wonderful display of primroses and wood anemones. Mid to late May may be best this year. The woods provide such an excellent environment for wild flowers due to a combination of the ancient woodland and limestone bedrock. The trees are a mixture of hawthorn, ash and hazel and provide a pleasant walk at any time of the year.
Other places where bluebell meadows are equally spectacular are the Grass Woods in Grassington, Hackfall Woods near Masham and Freeholders Wood near Aysgarth Falls.
Oxenber Woods is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Even though it is mainly situated on access land so you can theoretically walk anywhere do be aware that the habitat is fragile. Therefore do not walk amongst the wild flowers during spring. There are a number of paths to follow and stick to.
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