Heavy rain failed to put off visitors to one of west London’s loveliest secrets. The bluebells of Perivale Wood hold an irresistible charm for those aware of what is hidden away behind typical suburban semi-detached homes close to an Undergound station.
This tiny piece of woodland has survived unchanged for centuries, in fact it gives us some idea of what parts of the British landscape were like as long as 9000 years ago when species such as these bluebells first flourished here. Other flowers can be seen here, including primroses and edible wild garlic, an indicator of ancient woodland. There is also a meadow, which will be used to graze horses this year, and a pond. Unfortunately both these features will be close the route of HS2, which will be noisy during its construction and once in use.
The Selborne Society, which owns and cares for Perivale Wood, uses it as a place to study conservation and as a classroom for the next generation to learn about climate change and loss of habitat. Its location makes it ideal for children who would be unable to experience similar environments without travelling much further away. The lessons are not limited to the young. At the age of 46 I first learned the name of red campion at Perivale Wood. The flower and the place remain two of my favourite things.
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