Early boom for Cornwall's famous bluebell blooms

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The mildest February in a decade has been credited for Cornwall's famous bluebell crop blooming several weeks earlier than usual.

The lack of frost has speeded up the flowering process in the county. In contrast last year bluebells were several weeks late in blooming.

Bluebells depend on warm ground temperatures to help them grow.

The flowers are normally found in old woodlands and bracken-covered hillsides. They start growing in Cornwall during January.

Ian Wright, gardens adviser at the National Trust in the South West, said: "Bluebells are the true heralds of the spring. They are a key part of our national heritage."

UK bluebells are currently at risk of disappearing as a result of mixing with the scentless non-native Spanish bluebell which are often planted in gardens.

The National Trust is launching a bluebell watch. It is inviting the public to report sightings and photographs of their local bluebell crops.

Matthew Oates, a naturalist for the organisation, said: "The Easter weekend looks set to be the peak time to see bluebells in the region. Further north flowering will be later."

Half of the world's population of bluebells can be found in the UK.

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