Springtime at Slindon

Slindon Wood anemones

After a long sleepy winter on the Slindon Estate, the landscape awakens with the sound of birds singing in the trees, the rustle of mammals waking from their long sleep and the vibrant colours of the flowers dotted around the woodlands.

As the days get longer and the heat if the sun can begin to be felt the estate undergoes a dramatic transformation from the stillness and silence of the winter months to a hive of activity and burst of colour. New leaves unfurl on trees causes the woodlands to turn bright green overnight and buds burst bringing flowers to the woods and meadows.

Slindon Spring Beech Woods
Slindon Beech woods in spring
Slindon Spring Beech Woods

The sound of birdsong can be heard all over the estate, birds such as the chiffchaff with its distinctive song are some of the first to arrive after overwintering in in southern Europe. Other birds such as chaffinches and blue tits have spent the winter in the UK are beginning to be more vocal and active as spring gets going. April and May are generally considered the best times of the year to listen to the dawn chorus of British birds.

Chiffchaff, the first migrant to arrive back in the UK in spring this little olive green warbler fills the woodland with it’s “chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff,” song
Returning chiffchaffs mark the arrival of spring
Chiffchaff, the first migrant to arrive back in the UK in spring this little olive green warbler fills the woodland with it’s “chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff,” song

One of the most impressive sights to see at Slindon during spring is the swathes of bluebells that bloom all over the estate. The sheer abundance of the bluebell in the woodlands is what makes it such spectacle to behold. The woodland on the hill behind the folly is one of the best places to have a wander and see the carpets of blue.

Bluebells in the woods in spring
Bluebells in the woods in spring
Bluebells in the woods in spring

Wildflowers make the woodlands burst into life with bright yellows of celandines and primroses and white wood anemone and wood sorrel light up the forest floor.  Brimstones are some of the first butterflies found on the estate in spring, with their bright yellow wings and delicate flight, they are one of the most easily recognisable butterflies. Peacocks, red admirals and orange tips can also be seen on the estate around this time.

A male orange tip butterfly rests on an ox eye daisy flower head
A male orange tip butterfly shows off white wings with an orange tip as it rests on top of a the delicate yellow centre of an ox eye daisy flower, surrounded by a frill of white petals
A male orange tip butterfly rests on an ox eye daisy flower head

Reptiles can be spotted on sunny days around the estate, basking in sunny spots on the edges of scrubby areas and hedges. Common lizards and slow worms are easiest to see but are easily disturbed by footfall and will quickly slither away when approached.

These slow worms were found on our estate
Male and Female slow worm
These slow worms were found on our estate

This is a time of year to tie up the loose ends of the winter work, like finishing hedge planting or deer fencing the coppice coops. We also begin a period of focusing on the 25 plus miles of public rights of way that cover the estate. Repairs are made to gates, stiles and benches and we start to mow paths to keep them free from vegetation.