Spring: Bluebells and blackthorn spring into action weeks ahead of time

Woodland Trust Nature’s Calendar has seen some of its earliest records this century for flowering bluebells and blackthorn

Spring has only just begun, according to the calendar, but some of the season’s milestone events have been taking place weeks early.

After the UK’s third-warmest winter in records going back to 1910, the Woodland Trust Nature’s Calendar has seen some of its earliest records this century for flowering bluebells and blackthorn.

Hawthorn trees have also been coming into leaf much earlier, according to the scheme in which members of the public record signs of the changing seasons.

This time last year, the trust had received 22 bluebell sightings across the UK, but more than 60 locations for blooms have been recorded this year, stretching from Dorchester to Doncaster.

There were 27 sightings of blackthorn flowering before the end of February last year, with 91 sightings up to the same point in the benchmark year of 2001, but this year there were 200 records.

Also this year, the Woodland Trust received 244 sightings of hawthorn leafing by the end of February, compared with 40 sightings in 2015 and 35 sightings in the benchmark year.

The next signs of spring to look out for are flowering hawthorn and elder, while the peak bluebell season is still to come.

The Woodland Trust is looking for people to record bluebell sightings this year through its Big Bluebell Watch.

PA

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