Trees woods and wildlife
Identify trees with our Tree ID app
Our free Tree ID app for Android and iPhone helps you identify the UK's native and non-native trees. It's an A-Z tree guide in your pocket.
Spring is a glorious time in nature. After the cold and dark of winter, signs of new life begin to emerge. The sights, sounds and smells bring us hope and cheer as more light and warmth encourages unfurling leaves, colourful blooms and thriving wildlife. But when does spring really start, and what are the key signs to look for?
Technically, spring has two start dates:
These specific dates won’t necessarily bring the feeling of spring, gracing us with warmer days and bright flowers. In 2018 for example, March was much more winter-like as the Beast from the East blasted the UK with ice and snow, delaying many of the spring events we look forward to. But many signs of spring in the natural world do appear in and around March. Here are some of the changes to look out for.
The first leaves and flowers of native trees are one of the surest signs of the changing seasons. As winter turns to spring, the bare, frost-covered branches begin to develop new buds and shoots. In March, watch for:
Credit: Frank Teigler Hippocampus Bildarchiv
Sunny days awaken the first flowers of spring in gardens and green spaces, bringing vibrant yellows, pinks, purples and blues amid vivid green and white. Unmistakable snowdrops and crocuses give way to colt's foot in mid February, followed by wood anemone in early March. Cuckoo flower and bluebell begin to bloom later that month, adding to the riot of seasonal colour.
Credit: Deborah Vernon / Alamy Stock Photo
As the volume and variety of flowers grows, so too does the pollinator population that feeds on them. Influenced by the warming temperatures, the first queen bumblebees begin to emerge from their hibernation around March.
Credit: Andy Sands / naturepl.com
What birds are the first sign of spring? Keep your eyes peeled to spot migratory birds as they return to the UK after winters in warmer climes. Look out for these early arrivals in March:
Credit: Amy Lewis / WTML
The beauty of these natural events is that they happen all around us - there’s no need to travel any great distance. Keep a close eye and ear on:
Want to increase your chances of seeing spring signs at home? Make your garden a haven for wildlife with our handy tips and guides.
Primordial landscapes, tangled branches, breathtaking wildlife and miles of woodland trails. From the countryside to cities, we care for thousands of woods throughout the UK, all free to visit.Find a wood near you