There’s nothing quite like the sweet fragrance of a thousand blooms permeating the air. And that’s exactly what you’ll find on a trip to Holwell Lawn in central Devon. (AKA what may well be the best bluebell field on Dartmoor).
If there’s one thing, more than anything else, that signals the arrival of Summer is just around the corner, it’s bluebells. Often associated with ancient woodlands, these delicate blue flowers can be found in the most unexpected of places, such as within the harsh and unforgiving environment of Dartmoor National Park. And so, what is usually little more than a barren landscape filled with tufts of grass and sparse gorse bushes is transformed into swathes of blue come May time…
Holwell Lawn: The Best Bluebell Field on Dartmoor
I was walking with Watson (our dog) on the moors a couple of days ago when I spotted a carpet of blue just across the valley. Even from a few of miles away, the unmistakable hue of bluebells was distinct. I just knew I had to return within the next few days to see the bluebells up close.
After all, these delicate violet flowers usually bloom for no longer than a week. Normally at some time between the beginning and middle of May. The exact blooming time of bluebells changes each year. Weather, rainfall and yearly temperatures all have a direct impact.
Holwell lawn lies between Hound Tor Rocks and Haytor; the two major touristic hotspots in the area. Haytor is the closest Tor to the town of Bovey Tracey, while Hound tor is often listed as the inspiration for Sherlock Holme’s ‘the Hound of the Baskervilles‘. Hound Tor also home to an abandoned medieval village (and well worth a look if you’re ever in the area).
The name ‘Holwell’ probably derives from a local holy well in the area, and indeed there are some 18th-century ruins in the field. However, these are predominantly carpeted in purple for the majority of May. The lawn is fairly flat for this area of Dartmoor and little tough walking is required to see the bluebells due to the nature of the path winding through the middle of them.
How to Visit Holwell Lawn Bluebells
So you want to visit the best bluebell field on Dartmoor? Well, the bluebells at Holwell lawn normally bloom around mid-May. Depending on how cold the Winter has been, the blooms can occur as late as the end of May. Bluebell season isn’t long, usually lasting no longer than a week.
As this is one of the most popular spots on the moorland for seeing the bluebells, I highly recommend arriving earlier in the day to avoid other tourists hoping to see the flowers.
There’s a limited number of parking spaces on the roadside directly opposite Holwell Lawn. Alternatively, there’s a lot of free parking at the base of Hound Tor car park. There, you can also find a mobile café serving hot food, cold food, and refreshments.