During May the British woodland truly springs into life, so much so that it bursts forth from the bushes all over the paths. A quiet bimble as dawn breaks will reward you with bank voles scurrying for cover and rabbits lolloping along the paths, as the squirrels crash about in the canopy.
The bluebells and primroses have given way to ramsons, buttercups and herb robert. Ramsons are also known as wild garlic or Allium ursinum, due to their popularity with brown bears. In the UK they are an indicator of ancient woodland. All parts of the plant are edible, there is evidence of humans eating them since Mesolithic and Neolithic times. The Swiss would add the leaves to cattle fodder to produce milk and butter with a hint of garlic. Anecdotally, garlic is a cure for many ailments and was often hung above doors to prevent disease (and vampires) from entering the home.
Another flower that you may be lucky to catch if your timing is right is the early purple orchid, or Orchis mascula. Shakespeare refers to them as “long purples” and they form part of Ophelia’s garland as she tragically drowns in Hamlet (see also this post and this post):