Published On: Thu, Mar 16th, 2023

Tourists issues warning for bluebell season as visitors cause huge ‘damage’ | Travel News | Travel

Epping Forest is one of the UK’s best places to spot bluebells. However, the popular spot has issued a warning ahead of this year’s season.

Bluebells usually flower from late March to early May and the sight of a forest carpeted with the purple blooms is one of the UK’s most enchanting experiences.

However, a “growing number of visitors” who “care more” about “getting a social media moment” have caused lasting damage to the flowers in Epping Forest.

Ben Murphy, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee, said: “Enchanting and iconic, bluebells are a sign that spring has finally sprung.

“This natural spectacle has been enjoyed for generations. However, the past few years have been hugely damaging to our rare bluebell population.

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“Sadly, a growing number of visitors seem to care more about getting a social media moment, than the lasting damage they leave behind. Even when not visible above ground, the bulbs can be damaged by heavy footfall.”

Bluebells are under threat in the UK and can take years to recover from damage caused by trampling.

If the plants’ delicate leaves are crushed, they can be left weakened as they can no longer photosynthesise.

The iconic plants are slow growers and seeds can take at least five years to develop into a bulb.

Murphy added: “To avoid us having to close off areas of Epping Forest, we hope that by explaining why these sites are so important, alongside new pathways and signage, visitors will work with us to protect these wonderful bluebells for years to come.”

Visitors have been asked not to pick the bluebells or to trample across them. New signs will be installed to remind people to remain on the paths.

The team launched the campaign after noticing a huge surge in the number of people posting pictures of the plants on social media.

The plants’ soaring popularity could put them at risk as more people try to get the perfect shot to share.

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Epping Forest isn’t the only beauty spot concerned about the impact of social media on its environment.

In Australia, farmers have seen a rise in tourists looking for pictures by their flowering canola fields.

Canola has bright yellow flowers and people visit the fields to get a photo among the breathtaking blooms.

However, the farmers have complained people have damaged their crops by picking plants, climbing over fences and trampling.

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