With the official start of spring just a few days away, we thought we’d put together a list of our top five ways to enjoy this most lively of seasons, using all the five senses.
Listen to birdsong and the buzzing of bees – whether you’re in a park in the city or rural spot, the sound of birdsong is never too far out of ear’s reach. When you can, stop a moment and listen to the chirrup of our great British songbirds. Our feathered friends start the important business of attracting a mate once temperatures start rise so now is the time to catch them at their most vocal.
If you happen to be awake particularly early during April through June (just before the sun rises), take a moment to listen to robins, great tits, song thrushes and chiffchaffs singing their dawn chorus.
Springtime is simply full of colour. From the very first snowbells of pure white during February and March, to the vibrant yellow of daffodils during March, beautiful blooms are everywhere.
Head to your local woodland during March and April to witness the season’s most fleeting and hypnotic sight. Amongst the trees, a wash of violet-blue covers the forest floor as bluebells come into their own. In order to protect and preserve these delicate and colourful blooms, be sure to always keep to the paths and please don’t pick them. But you needn’t stand still, stooping down to ground level is the perfect way to take in the plants’ lovely sweet smell.
Away from the woodlands and into the fields it’s lambing season. Sure to raise a smile on young and old alike, baby sheep love to frolic and play with their siblings and parents, and of course, make the most adorable bleating sound. Listen out for their playful calls.
Remember, if you’re walking with your dog; always always keep it on a lead to avoid causing any distress to pregnant ewes, or new mums and their babies.
Found in moist ground under the dappled shade of deciduous woodland, wild garlic also know as bear’s garlic or wood garlic, grows. Before it starts to flower (usually around June) it can be picked and used in lots of delicious recipes.
Be sure to carefully identify what you think is wild garlic before you pick it as it bears a resemblance to the poisonous lily of the valley. Rub and crush some of the leaves in your hand to release the plant’s scent. If it smells like garlic, it’s safe to pick. If not, throw the leaves away.
Against the backdrop of a blue spring sky, blossom trees come into their own. Look out for white hawthorn blossom in the hedges, and the confetti-making wild cherry tree (prunus avium) which flowers mid-April and crab apple (malus sylvestris), which comes into bloom mid to late May. Not only are these trees beautiful to look at but they’re also heavily scented.
Of course, we’re not the only creatures attracted by delicate blossom. If you’re lucky enough to have a cherry tree in your garden, or come across some in your neighbourhood, keep your ears open and you might hear the buzzing of a busy bee out collecting nectar.
Why not keep a calendar of all the signs of spring you see, hear, touch, taste and smell? Do the same next year and see if you can track any changes in when these signs of the new season occur. Are they any later or earlier than usual? Head to The Woodland Trust to record your sightings.
If you’d like more nature activity ideas for children, why not head to our Go Wild Discovery Hub? Alongside fun stuff to do, you’ll also discover interviews with wildlife experts and information about our Touch to See Forest Farm packs for children including On the Farm, Nature Detectives and Wild about Bushcraft.