May is the best time of year to visit the quiet Rannerdale valley near Buttermere in the Lake District to see the amazing blanket of bluebells that cover the open hillside. In the 1100s ancient Lakeland was the only part of England that resisted the Norman invasion. In the battle of Rannerdale the troops of Earl Boethar (hence the name Buttermere, Boethar’s lake) drew the Normans into the dead end valley of Rannerdale, next to Crummock water. There he ambushed them from above and behind. According to local folklore it is said that there is a bluebell here for every soldier killed.
The valley is easily accessible from the lake shore road that winds its way alongside the two lakes from Cockermouth before eventually climbing up and over Honister pass and down into Borrowdale. The walk could be lengthened to include the ‘Wainwrights’ of Rannerdale Knotts, Whitless Pike and Grasmoor to name a few.