SUSAN Briggs, director of the Dales based The Tourism Network, has worked in tourism marketing for more than 30 years and is passionate about the Yorkshire Dales.

About two years ago, she started the website: - 'the insiders guide to the Yorkshire Dales - and at the beginning of the year, challenged herself to writing a daily blog, which she called 365 ways to discover the Dales.

She has now written more than 100 daily blogs, covering a range of topics, from collecting wild garlic, to drystone walls, and to popular visitor places, such as Bolton Abbey and Grassington.

"I really love that it encourages me to keep going out to discover new places, meet some fantastic Dales folk, learn more about nature and history," she says.

The following of her blogs are about bluebells, which are so much in evidence at the moment, and the work of the farmers, rangers and volunteers in the national park who work hard all the year round to maintain the drystone walls.

COMING across a carpet of bluebells in an ancient woodland feels like stumbling upon an enchanted scene in a fairy story - there's something magical about the appearance of hundreds of bluebells in Spring time.

Perhaps it's because the other early Spring flowers tend to be white or yellow, and blue suddenly seems exotic. Bluebells are actually quite rare outside the UK - we have around half the world's bluebells.

I love some of the old English names for bluebells such as Witches' Thimbles, Cuckoo's Boots and Granfer Giggles.

The best places to see bluebells are in ancient woodlands. You can also find them among ferns in damp pastures, and even in the little grikes of limestone pavements. Bluebells like to avoid shade so grow and flower before the tree's canopy springs into full leaf. When you see them in hedgerows or among bracken, it can be a sign that these were spots once covered by woods. It's likely that bluebells were once even more populous in England as the Elizabethans used their bulbs to make starch for their ruffs, and the flower stalks were used as glue in bookbinding and for fastening feathers to arrows!

Three different species grow here - Italian, Spanish and English. If you plant some at home, try to make sure you plant the native English species (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). You can identify our native bluebells by looking for those with the longest stems and strongly scented flowers that hang delicately on one side. Bumblebees appreciate their early nectar.

Some beautiful bluebell woods to visit in the Yorkshire Dales: Oxenber Woods by Austwick

Hackfall near Masham

​Grass Wood near Grassington

Freeholders Wood in Lower Wensleydale

Please do be careful when you visit bluebell woods

Bluebells are really delicate, taking more than five years to become established from seed and they can take a long time to recover when their leaves are crushed (so don't walk among them or let dogs do so), sometimes even dying. It's against the law to pick or destroy bluebells. They die quickly once picked so please don't be tempted by their beautiful colour - a photo of them will last much longer and do less damage!

WHEN you walk along a well maintained path, go through a sprung gate that replaces a tricky stile, or admire the miles of drystone walls in the Yorkshire Dales, do you ever wonder 'who did that?'

Much of the work is done by farmers working on their own land but a great deal is also accomplished by the Yorkshire Dales National Parks team of rangers working with a network of around 200 volunteers.

They all have one thing in common - a great passion for their local landscape, wildlife, and plenty of practical skills.

Many of them work year round, often in foul weather and pride themselves on doing a great job that will last for many generations to enjoy. Some of their most visible work relates to path and wall maintenance and improvements but they do plenty of other work too. They lead guide walks and give talks to groups, passing on their passion for the environment. They undertake flower, wildlife and species surveys as well as surveys on historic buildings and archaeological sites.

Given the size of the National Park and shortage of funding, the landscape wouldn't be the same without these committed individuals. Most of the volunteers commit to working at least 15 days a year, and often do so for many years. So let's raise a glass to them in thanks - and if you'd like to become one of them, take a look at this page.

To read more of Susan's daily blogs, go to: