Signs of spring in the National Forest

18th Mar 2024
Bluebells at Pear Tree Wood


As the frosty grip of winter begins to loosen its hold, the National Forest awakens with the vibrant signs of a new season. From the first green buds on the trees to the symphony of birdsong at dawn, nature's cues tell us that spring is on its way. Let's take a walk through this picturesque landscape and explore the delightful signs of the changing season.

One of the most iconic signs of spring is the sight and sound of frogs and toads heralding the season with their amorous calls. As temperatures slowly rise, ponds in the Forest become lively breeding grounds for these amphibious creatures. The rafts of frogspawn turn into tadpoles wriggling in the shallows, a promise of new life as the cycle begins again. The air is filled with the gentle croaking of the males, each vying for the attention of potential mates.

As the sun begins its ascent over the horizon, the forest is serenaded by the melodious symphony of the dawn chorus. Birds of all kinds, from blackbirds to robins, join in this natural orchestra, their songs a celebration of the longer, warmer days ahead. The air is alive with trills and tweets, a cacophony of joyous sound that fills the soul and reminds us of the beauty of nature's rhythms.



One of the most tangible signs of spring's arrival is the gradual lightening of the mornings. Daylight stretches a little further into the night, promising more time to enjoy the outdoors. The soft glow of sunrise paints the sky in hues of pink and orange, casting a gentle light over the awakening landscape. It's a perfect time for an early morning stroll, to breathe in the crisp, fresh air and witness nature coming alive.

As if by magic, the forest floor begins to transform with the arrival of spring flowers. Wood anemones creep along the ground, and deep yellow cowslips push through the earth to remind us that sunshine is on its way.  Look out for the first bluebells too, creating a gorgeous, blue carpet in the woodlands. These hardy flowers are the first signs of the floral tapestry that will soon blanket the forest floor, a vibrant mosaic of pinks, purples, yellows, and whites.

Wood Anenome


Look up, and you'll see the bare branches on the trees start to swell with buds, a promise of the verdant foliage to come. Soon, delicate blossoms will adorn the boughs, from the delicate pink cherry blossoms to the creamy whites of hawthorn, blackthorn, apple, and pear trees.  Bees will buzz from flower to flower, their busy work essential for pollination and the sweetness of future fruits.

Spring is a time of rejuvenation, not just for plants but for wildlife too. Fox cubs venture out of their dens, playful and curious as they explore their surroundings. Among the butterfly species emerging early in the season are the small tortoiseshells, peacocks, commas, brimstones, and red admirals. In another month or so, those which have to complete their life cycle from a pupa can also be spotted- these include the orange tip (often hailed as the harbinger of spring), large white, small white, green veined white, speckled wood, and holly blue.


Orange Tip Butterfly


One unmistakable sign of the changing season is the sight of bats emerging from their winter slumber. From their hidden roosts in attics, hollow trees, or farmers’ barns, these nocturnal creatures venture out into the dusk, their delicate wings fluttering against the twilight sky. Their return from hibernation symbolises nature's renewal, a gentle reminder that life continues its timeless cycle despite the chill of winter.

Everywhere you look, there's a sense of activity and renewal as the forest comes alive once more.

Perhaps one of the most subtle but unmistakable signs of spring is the change in the air itself. The cold, crisp bite of winter gives way to gentler, warmer breezes carrying with them the scent of new growth. It's a heady mix of damp earth, fresh leaves, and the assurance of the summer to come. This aroma is nature's perfume, a delightful reminder that winter is behind us, and brighter days lie ahead.

Spring leaves


In the Forest, signs of spring are not just events but experiences to be embraced. It's a time to shed the layers of winter and venture outdoors, to revel in the sights, sounds, and scents of this rejuvenating season. Whether it's watching tadpoles dart through the water, listening to the chorus of birds at dawn, or simply breathing in the fragrant air, there's something enchanting about this time of year.

So, as you explore the paths and trails of the area, keep an eye out for these signs of spring. Take a moment to pause and appreciate the beauty of nature as it awakens from its winter slumber. Spring is a season of hope, renewal, and endless possibilities, and there's no better place to experience it than in the heart of the National Forest.