Over the last couple of weeks we have been out and about locally enjoying the arrival of spring, and there's no better place for this than woodland. I love to be in green places surrounded by trees and growing things. Woodlands are very much three-dimensional places, with interest all around: above in the tree canopy birds sing and squirrels climb; at eye height there is blossom, bark and new leaves; at ground level there is a carpet of plants, rotting wood, fungi and tiny creatures. Woodlands are places where you can lose yourself and still your thoughts.
Recently after work we walked to our local nature reserve. It's only little, but there's so much to see. I looked, listened and use all my senses: warbling birdsong trilled around us; the tiny white and pink stars of wood anenomes dotted the green of the floor; frothy white blackthorn blossom decorated the trees; a soft breeze touched my face and the pungent, appetising smell of wild garlic rose up from the ground and wafted around our noses.
The wild garlic was yet to flower,
and wood anenomes covered the ground.
Many of them were a soft pink.
New leaves glowed in the light of the setting sun.
And as it set, bats came out and swooped over our heads, some getting very close indeed. Such a lovely evening.
Last weekend we went to a larger ancient woodland which is a short car drive from here. It was a sunny afternoon, and as the bluebells were at their peak there were families there enjoying their beauty on a Sunday afternoon.
There were celandines and wood anenomes too, amidst the green.
Streams and gullies babbled away,
and we climbed the side of a very pretty waterfall which cascades over the rocks below.
Bright green ferns pushed their way up through the leaf litter.
Overhead the sunlight shone through the leaves above, making patterns of light and shade.
Best of all, of course, were the bluebells. Such a heavenly shade of blue, and so many of them.
I stood and drank them all in, inhaling their delicate scent which hung in the air.
Nothing can match the spectacle of them shimmering under the trees. They epitomise late spring, and I wait for them eagerly every year. It's always hard for me to keep walking when I come across a clearing of bluebells.
Other flowers were there too, like this pretty red campion,
more wood anenomes,
and delicate lady's smock, which I also know as milkmaids. I found out it's also called cuckoo-flower in some parts of Britain and is related to wallflowers, which I often suspected.
Thank you for coming with me on my ramble.
Woodlands are indeed magical places x