Songs of the woodland in spring at Nymans

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The very word ‘spring’ is said to originate from woodland; from the sprays of fresh green leaf shoots linked to new hazel coppice. A woodland is the ideal place to experience nature’s revival, surrounded by budding trees and emerging wild flowers. Nymans Ranger Chloe Bradbrooke shares the delights of Spring, from the loud to the subtle, which can be enjoyed in our woodlands.

Spring – time of warmth, light, colour and song. The sap is rising and the birds and bees are stirring.

Bees come out of hibernation, with the queens flying off to scout for homes and butterflies, such as orange-tips, emerging from their chrysalises.

Hedgerows burst joyfully into bloom, with blackthorn flowers on bare branches and pussy willow catkins providing important early nectar for insects. The flowers race to bloom and set seed before the canopy closes over. In Nymans wood insects fly over a stunning carpet weave of lesser celandine, wood anemones, violets and bluebells – all lovers of dappled light.

There is a sense of renewal and change. Birds migrate with departing winter visitors heading back north, such as redwings to Siberia, and newly arriving warblers, chiff-chaffs and black caps from Europe and North Africa.

Spring is prime time for spotting birds as the trees are not yet fully in leaf and the woodland is the best place to hear them sing. You’ll hear the males advertising their territories and attracting a mate. Some birds court using colourful plumage and others exotic flight routines, but in the limited space and visibility of a wood it’s all about the song.

Once paired, the busy time of nest building begins in a great variety of styles, whether it’s messy and twiggy like crows, mud for house martins, feathers for long-tail tits or wool for blue tits.

We have a great number of breeding birds here – one of the reasons we are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – and you can join us on a dawn chorus walk. Sit with your back against a tree, close your eyes and listen to the woods awaken, each new bird adding its voice as the song grows layer by layer.

Check our events listing for opportunities to enjoy the woods with our rangers this Spring.

Whilst you are very welcome to walk your dogs in Nymans woods, we do ask that you keep them on leads during the bird-nesting season as ground-nesting birds are easily disturbed, even by the best behaved of our four-legged friends.


Chloe Bradbrooke

Nymans Senior Woods Ranger