• Discover Hidden Britain

ACTIVITIES | Spring – Things to look forward to…

You’ve not quite made it. It is still a bit dark, a bit too early and a bit dark, a bit too late. But such is the way of the calendar. That winter hangs on – comes early, drags on in fits and starts. You’re still wearing your bobble hat, you’ve still got the blanket out. The heating is still on. The fire still burns!

But fear not – sometime soon Spring will officially be sprung! The sun begins to shine a little more yellow and a little less blue. There are a fewer clouds in the sky. The days last a little longer. These are, for me, the glory days of the years. A celebration that we made it. Through the winter. Through the dormancy of the seasons. Waiting. Simply waiting. Waiting for our friends, the trees to begin their slow awakening – to see the buds on their branches, the blossom in their hair. For me, perhaps, the very fast signs of spring.

And yet what else give us the signs of change? What delights are there for us in Spring?

Arguably the first signs of change, of movement are the flowering bulbs. The snowdrops first. Their shy, bobbed faces cowering beneath their snow-white caps. They cluster as if in fear. But offer a sympathetic, slow reminder to us that seasons might yet begin to change. Then perhaps the brassier daffodils. Where in places like Kempley and Dymock, where in years gone by, families went on the train to pick the wild daffodils of West Gloucestershire. Not the big old ones. The tiny, floor-covering of native daffodils.

But what then? Have you heard them? Have you seen them danced on their tippy toes in grassy fields? Feeling their joyful liberation. Welcome to the dancing, skipping, prancing lambs. They barrel around, not too far from mum, but far enough to kick up a fuss.

In sylvan lands, in amongst the woodland and the shady dips and hollows, this you can smell. Wild garlic overwhelms the senses. I used to smell it every time I drove through a certain area where vast swathes covered the forest floor. Distinctive, fragrant. Its long green leaves trailing each other…

In ponds and murky rain-filled puddles, moving jelly squiggles signify the start of a new generation of frogs. An interminable cycle, never-ending childish intrigue. Tadpoles. Legs. Tails. Both.

And as you hear your first bumble bee, you catch the stylish upright blooms of the bells – the bluebells. A perfect blue. A perfect curve. A perfect hanging blossom. These are the ladies of our piece. We wait for months; and then they are gone in days. Such is the way of the bluebell woods.

Anything then? Any more delights? Well, you’re forgetting aren’t you? The birds. The birds and their song of glory. Chirrups. Cheeps. Tweets. Warbles. Some stayed. Some remained as the light left us, the sun hid behind storm clouds and darkness. But they’re still here – reminding you. Before the migrants return, those who left us and now seek a return to the familiar.

Welcome Britain. This is our Spring. This is our return to the outside. Welcome us back nature! We’ve left our jumpers behind. Is Spring really too early for shorts?