Noticing nature this spring

A stonechat perches in bracken

Whilst enjoying the welcome sights and sounds of spring, take a moment to discover the different pockets of nature at Longshaw and the simple and easy ways you can help to protect it.

Be spring savvy

Whether you're exploring wildflower meadows, listening to birdsong in tranquil woods or enjoying your daily form of exercise in your local outdoor space, spending time in nature can give you a sense of peace and a breather from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Take the time to stop and appreciate all the joys and that sense of wellbeing that nature provides - the sight of new animals, the smells of wildflowers and the sound of birdsongs. We all need nature but at the same time, nature needs all of us to care for it and protect it. There are plenty of simple and easy ways you can help to look after the places you love this spring…

A family playing their part to help nature, by keeping their four-legged companion on a lead
A family playing their part to help nature, by keeping their four-legged companion on a lead
A family playing their part to help nature, by keeping their four-legged companion on a lead

Take the lead

When out exploring with your canine companion, take a moment to stop and notice the smaller details of spring, many that are often invisible to the naked eye or when speeding by at pace. The welcome sight of green shoots pushing up through the soil, our special birds like the curlew that nest on the ground and tree buds revealing their hues of greens. When walking your dog, please help to keep wildlife, farm animals, other people safe by keeping your dog on a short 2m lead to avoid any disturbance and to ensure that everyone enjoys their precious time in the outdoors.

Kev captures a brief pause from this Pied Flycatcher
Kev captures a brief pause from this Pied Flycatcher
Kev captures a brief pause from this Pied Flycatcher

Popping in with the Pied Flycatchers

The woodlands around Padley make an attractive home for the returning Pied Flycatchers. This beautiful bird is becoming rare in many parts of the UK and remains on the official ‘red data list’ of UK birds whose numbers are a concern due to a decline in numbers. Our rangers look after these woodlands to help maintain ideal conditions for flycatchers and other wildlife by managing open land around ancient, native trees and keeping out grazing animals that can damage young trees and other woodland plants. Year on year Ranger Mark and the team monitor the bird boxes in the area and have found that the amount of flycatcher nests has increased positively over the years, ‘It’s great to have a red data list species increasing here and we’re getting other groups coming to see how we’ve done it,’ Mark.

Fires caused by BBQs and campfires have devastating effects on woodlands where Pied Flycatchers live and for this and many other reasons, are not permitted across the Peak District National Park. It is therefore vital to the welfare and safety of the wildlife and our precious countryside that BBQs and campfires are avoided at all costs. Staff are patrolling regularly and will extinguish any lit BBQs or campfires immediately. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Helicopter dropping water on a Peak District fire
Helicopter dropping water on a Peak District fire
Helicopter dropping water on a Peak District fire

Antics ahead

When choosing your picnic spot at Longshaw, be very careful to look out for the internationally protected Northern Hairy Wood Ants. The estate is a hotspot for these fascinating insects, and you can spot one of their thousands of nests by large mounds of earth amongst the woodland floor. Take a closer look and see if you can spot the different types of responsibilities the ants have, from carrying eggs, twigs or your picnic if you get too close! You can help to look after this rare species of ant by taking all your litter home with you, so that the woodland floor can remain a thriving habitat for these ants to flourish in.  

We're home to lots of wood ants
Close view of wood ants 
We're home to lots of wood ants

Be a guardian of the landscapes that you love and look after the paths, woodlands, wondrous wildlife, rolling hills and vast open spaces that have provided a welcome escape during these difficult times.