As winter turns to spring and the days get longer, new life is starting to appear at National Trust gardens, parklands and estates, from spring flowers to newborn lambs and nesting birds.
Northamptonshire is a great place to experience some of these seasonal changes and to get out and see some stunning displays of spring colour. Or go looking for some of the wildlife that will be starting to appear again in the woods and parklands after a long dreary winter, so get out and about and put a spring in your step!
There will be lots happening in National Trust gardens as well, with gardeners busy preparing for the season ahead. This could be anything from a good spring tidy-up to cutting acres of lawns and trimming miles of hedges. At Lyveden New Bield they will be keeping on top of the 26 acres of mowing that needs to be done, and at Canons Ashby they will be painting the 1.5km of white lining around the croquet lawn in preparation for warmer weather.
Many gardens offer tours or the opportunity to buy plants, and the gardeners are always happy to chat to visitors and pass on their wisdom, no matter how busy they are!
Canons Ashby and Lyveden New Bield both offer plenty of opportunities to see spring flowers, from the earliest snowdrops to later flowering bulbs like tulips and daffodils. Both places offer a variety of walks through the gardens or parkland, and there are childrens trails for the kids to explore and run wild.
There should be lots of birds around for visitors to spot and identify at this time of year – it’s the start of the breeding season and a time of change, with the departure of winter visitors and arrival of summer migrants like swallows and cuckoos. Many birds will be busy gathering nesting material, and will be at their colourful best as they prepare for the breeding season and try to attract a mate.
Lyveden is a great place for a spot of birdwatching – a chance to see the agile swallows as they return to nest, as well as more common species like blackbirds and blue tits. Younger visitors can pick up a spotter guide and even borrow a pair of binoculars from the Family Den to take a closer look.
Carl Hawke, Wildlife and Countryside Consultant, says “Much of the work to care for the incredible gardens and parklands takes place while we are open to visitors and people are fascinated to find out how long it takes us to mow the lawns or cut the hedges – and they very often pick up a few tips for their own gardens! These outdoor spaces all offer a variety of habitats for native wildlife as well as plants and we actively manage the woodlands to benefit wildlife.”
Why not start planning some fun spring days out for the whole family by visiting www.nationaltrust.org.uk/midlands?