Time out to notice nature

Look out for swallows skimming over the fields in front of Longshaw Lodge

As spring colours begin to flourish over the landscape at Longshaw, there are plenty of opportunities to satisfy the senses and fulfil our wildlife wonderings in wanders in the countryside.

Trees and wildflowers

Take time to stop and notice the smallest and most fascinating details of spring as buds on trees begin to unfold and the blackthorn tree reveals its white blossom display and circulates a subtle almond like aroma – a real treat for the senses. Spring flowers such as wood anemone and daises bloom in Granby Woods, and the “cuckoo flower” with its four pale-pink petals, grows well near Longshaw pond. In the meadows and open spaces, cowslips look a little like yellow bluebells, and grow in places with plenty of sunlight. If you wander to Hay Wood or Jubilee in late April, you might catch a glimpse of the delicate early purple orchid, which normally blooms around the same time and place as the bluebells.

A woodland carpet adorned with bluebells
A woodland carpet adorned with bluebells
A woodland carpet adorned with bluebells

Spring wildlife

As the weather warms up and the days get longer, thousands of migrating birds pass over the Peak District. Spring visitors such as house martins and skylarks are on their way from South and West Africa. Look out for swallows skimming over the fields in front of Longshaw Lodge and listen for the rare but unmistakeable sound of a cuckoo. Hedgehogs and bats are coming out of hibernation, and some mammals have already started raising families. Badger cubs, bat pups and hare leverets are being born, and you have a good chance of seeing mammals finding food for their families.

Listen for the rare but unmistakeable sound of a cuckoo
Listen for the rare but unmistakeable sound of a cuckoo
Listen for the rare but unmistakeable sound of a cuckoo

Adders, toads and the rare great crested newt might be tempted out of hibernation from log piles and dry-stone walls on sunny days. Longshaw pond becomes a hive of wildlife activity in spring as our resident frogs are busy laying frogspawn, a symphony of croaking can be heard from quite a distance if you listen carefully. Female red deer, hinds, are very protective at this time of year as they closely guard their young calves, so will retreat to quieter areas of the estate. Sheep and cattle are also raising young lambs and calves at this time of year, so please keep all dogs on a short lead to help keep these families of animals safe from harm or disturbance.

Female red deer, hinds, are very protective during spring as they guard their young calves
Female red deer, hinds, are very protective during spring as they guard their young calves
Female red deer, hinds, are very protective during spring as they guard their young calves

Longshaw is home to all this wondrous wildlife and nature that brings us so much joy and a welcome sight after the long, dark winter days. Your visit to Longshaw helps us to look after this landscape so we can ensure that it is always a home for a diverse and thriving world of wildlife and nature.