As you come into our little village of Uphill from our neighbouring town of Weston-super-Mare, just a mile or so away, you pass by a small wooded area called the Plantation. It is quite undulating, maybe early sea defences built by the Romans, maybe part of a dyke and drainage system built by monks from Glastonbury Abbey; whatever its history, the little wood with its winding paths among the broad-leaved trees and the ups and downs, bumps and lumps, dips and strange channels, is a favourite place for children and dog walkers.
Once you pass the Plantation, you come to a lovely meadow, surrounded by low cast iron railings; in the spring time a succession of wild flowers cause passers by to stop and look or, like us, take photos. First come the snowdrops, then the crocuses, then buttercups and aconites, and then there is a dark shimmer on the grass which becomes bluer and bluer until all is revealed – bluebells! Thousands of bluebells, made bluer by the lovely cowslips growing among them.
This is the Bluebell Field… I read somewhere it is also called the Snowdrop Field, well, I’ve never heard it called that, but I do know it is also called the Donkey Field. Apparently the ‘lord of the manor’ had a little donkey which pulled a cart round the Knyfton estate; he was Thomas Tutton Knyfton – the self-styled lord of the manor that is, not the donkey – I don’t know what the donkey was called! All the passers-by and villagers petted the donkey, and when he died he was buried somewhere in the field. It’s also thought that other donkeys, those which had worked giving rides on the beach wintered in the field, but I’m not sure that is true. As part of the management of the Bluebell Field, sheep and cattle graze in the summer – last year we had some lovely little Dexters who, when they arrived, were hidden by the long grass. It didn’t take them long to eat it down to hoof height!