Bluebell archaeology: walkers look out!

I celebrated May Day with a photo on Facebook of bluebells in the Turville valley. 


Bluebells in the Turville valley in the Bucks Chilterns

This prompted my friend Graham Bathe to write to me about the use of bluebells in archaeological work.  He says that the key thing to look out for is when there is a uniform carpet of one species (bluebell) giving way to a uniform carpet of another species (garlic or dog’s mercury).

Graham bluebell archaeology

Bluebells give way to wild garlic, indicating an iron-age hill-fort in Dorset. Photo: Graham Bathe

Graham asks: ‘Can you please look out for any such changes on your walks, and bring them to my attention?   An example is in the photo, where a uniform bluebell carpet gives way to garlic at an iron-age hill-fort.  There may be nothing visible on the ground apart from the change in flora—that is its value!’

Please leave a note on this blog of any examples and I shall pass them to Graham.


About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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2 Responses to Bluebell archaeology: walkers look out!

  1. ossjay says:

    Coed-y-Gedrys (part of NRW forestry) has distinct areas of bluebells changing to wild garlic visible from the road along the bottom, but all bluebells higher up. There is iron about.

  2. Thanks Jay, I’ll tell Graham.

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