In a couple of weeks the Bluebells will be out in force and here in Cornwall there are some great places to visit where you can bask in the majesty of their presence.

The native bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are the epitome of the British woodland at this time of year and are a proctected species under the Wildlife and countryside act 1981.  This means that digging up the bulb and plant in the countryside is prohibited and landowners are not allowed to remove bluebells from their land to sell.

The Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) was introduced to British gardens by the Victorians in the early 20th century and escaped into the countryside – this is not protected. Spanish bluebells are lighter in colour than their british counterparts and sometimes pink.  They have blue anthers not white, wider leaves and their structure is more upright with less droop and flowers emerging in all directions from the stem.

The Spanish bluebell can now be found alongside our native species in woodland and hedgerows. Unfortunately the Spanish and British bluebell hybridise easily which muddies the water a little.

The Hybrid bluebell (Hyacinthoides x massartiana) has characteristics of both the British and Spanish bluebell but the anthers are pale to dark blue and although they may droop to one side they generally have flowers arranged all around the stem.

So what does all this have to do with survival and bushcraft?  Ever since I watched Ray Mears controversially chew up a bluebell bulb in his BBC2 series “Bushcraft” I have been intrigued by natural glues.  There are a number of resources that can be prepared and processed to make glue but bluebells have a long history with a variety of applications.



As Bluebells are poisonous their use as a glue for book-bindings not only held together extremely well but also allegedly deterred Silverfish, moths and other paper munching pests.  They have also been used to affix arrow fletchings since at least the 16th century but potentially much longer.

As I had an old arrow in need of repair I was keen to experiment!  Firstly, I should state that I gave myself permission to dig up some Spanish Bluebells from my own garden then, having washed the bulbs, I set to mashing them up into a paste.

They transformed instantly into a tacky paste and I applied them to my prepared arrow shaft before binding the fletchings with some rafia.

With the leftover ‘glue’ I wanted to experiment a little to see what stuff I could stick to other stuff and I set about trying to capture one of my children.  My eldest is now fairly quick and nimble, having recently been training for the school cross country so I turned my attention to the youngest one.  Unfortunately she has taken on a bit of a growth spurt of late and these longer limbs combined with still being small enough enough to climb through hedges and bramble thickets allowed her to evade me fairly easily also!

Eventually I settled with trying to adhere a lighter to the underside of a cherry branch and it stuck there for a good minute before finally falling off!

In conclusion the glue I produced was very easy to make and pretty effective despite not being a particularly fine paste.  The arrow fletchings were still firmly attached after a couple of shots with my wildlife bow and it has dried quite nicely.

If you want to experiment yourself with making natural glues from Bluebell bulbs please don’t go around the countryside digging them up without the permission of the landowner regardless of it’s type protected or otherwise.  If you have bluebells in your garden then please be sure to identify them correctly and only use the non-native varieties or visit a local garden centre and purchase them.


Godolphin House, Lanhydrock, Tehidy Country Park and Pencarrow are transformed into a shimmering carpet of blue throughout late April and May – well worth a visit!

Our site at Scorrier has a magnificent display of bluebells this time of year – why not visit us and see for yourself?



A Question we are often asked is how to prioritise in a survival situation, what do you need to do first?

When prioritising there are a number of variables to take into account from environmental factors to the mechanism by which survival is necessary.

In all cases the first thing to get out of the way is to deal with injuries and any immediate risk of harm.  Move yourself and others away from any potential dangers before focusing on and treating any medical issues.

Once satisfied that immediate health concerns are under control, it’s time to take stock and figure out both where you are and just how likely you are to be rescued.

The Rule of 3’s

A good guiding principle to inform decision making in survival situations is The rule of 3’s.

General survival rates:

  • 3 minutes – without air
  • 3 hours – without a maintained Core Temperature
  • 3 days – without water
  • 3 weeks – without food

Civilisation may be just several or hundreds of miles away and knowing this is going to influence the decisions you make and your next steps.

Once you have established how long you might need to stay in the wilderness then it’s time to focus on choosing a suitable location that meets your individual or your groups needs.


When looking for a good site you need to make sure that it will meet both your immediate and future needs, however long that may be.

Protecting yourself from the elements and maintaining warmth is your top priority but doing so miles away from a suitable water source is a bad idea.  Likewise bedding down near a stream on an exposed hillside without a readily available supply of fuel for the fire is an equally poor choice.

The location you choose should keep you safe and give you easy access to all the things that you will likely need for immediate survival.

A suitable site should provide easy access to or protection from the 5 W’s.


Following these general rules will enable you to establish a safe and suitable base in the best possible location.  To find out more and put some of these principles into practice, why not attend one of our Survival courses?

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