There are signs of Spring all over the woods now that the sun has decided to make a few appearances over the last week.
Birds are singing, defending territories and eyeing up those of the opposite sex, families are enjoying spending time in the great outdoors at the weekends and fresh green shoots are punching their way through last years leaf litter.
Its lovely to see and hear children enjoying being active in the woods on the new play trail around Presthope, it can be hard to encourage kids to join their parents on a walk especially with all the modern distractions such as TV and ipads etc. Hopefully these simple additions to the Lime Kiln walk will make it seem less like a walk for younger family members.
Birds are getting through plenty of seed at the bird hide as they prepare for the mating season, hopefully it will be a more productive season than the last two. There are 160 nest boxes all cleaned out and ready for use we and the birds could just do with this mild weather continuing.
There are many plants emerging at the moment including Lords and Ladies, Dogs Mercury and my favourite, Wild Garlic. It carpets the woodland floor with its lovely green leaves and fills the air with its wonderful aroma.
The leaves are used in cooking rather than the bulbs and we pick some for the National Trust tea room at Carding Mill Valley, they make garlic soup with it and this year will also be selling wild garlic pesto. Both of these should be on sale in the next few weeks.
The footpaths and bridleways have dried up really well in the sunshine and there are still plenty of views out to the wider countryside as the trees are still bare so its a great time to visit.