Late start for spring at Nottinghamshire’s beauty spots

The delayed start to the traditional ‘kickstart’ for wildlife to flourish this spring season is exceptional, say country park managers in Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire County Council says the natural surroundings at its country parks at Rufford Abbey, Sherwood Forest, Bestwood and Cotgrave are still adjusting following the cold winter.

All are reporting signs of life for the new season but estimate that growth has been stalled by around a month on previous years.

Rufford Country Park reports daffodils in full bloom and oaks beginning to show some leaf, but that only leaves are appearing on other flowers such as bluebells. Swallows appeared back at the country park a week ago, and other birds such at nuthatches are in good voice.

Linda Hardy, Visitor Services Manager, at Rufford Country Park, said: “I have worked here for 12 years and this is exceptional in terms of the late start for plants and wildlife this spring.

“However, we are forecast warm weather over the next couple of weeks so hope this will help encourage growth.”

Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve has also seen a number of plants beginning to leaf – including elder, bluebells and wood sorrel. Hawthorn is starting to grow and rangers expect oaks and silver birch to begin budding shortly. In terms of wildlife, chiffchaffs have returned to Sherwood and a cuckoo has also been heard in the forest in the last week.

Izi Banton, site manager at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, said: “It has been a very late start to the season. Grass growth has only recently started and we are still awaiting bracken to appear which is extremely unusual for late-April.”

Bestwood Country Park has also seen swallows at the Winding Engine House and chiffchaffs back at the park for the first time this year. Bluebells are also just starting to leaf with daffodils and celandine in bloom.

Sue McDonald, Community Liaison Officer at Bestwood, said: “It is like suspended animation waiting for the new spring season to start to emerge. Severe winters are usually followed by milder springs but some of the wildlife was caught out by the snow we had in late March.

“Some of the plants which had started to bud then suffered from frost burn and ice burn, and everything now seems to be about a month behind on previous years.”

For more details about events at the country parks in the county and elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, visit the council’s website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/whatson to find out more about what is on.