We're just starting to see the first bluebells appearing and within the coming weeks many people will head out to enjoy the sight of carpets of these lovely blooms in local woodland - but are we missing something?
While both snowdrops and bluebells are (deservedly) well celebrated - what about those forgotten beauties that also herald the arrival of Spring that pop their yellow heads up to brighten our days. Primroses, cowslips, marsh marigolds, celandine, and don't forget the much maligned dandelion - we should have yellow walks just to celebrate them.
Take a walk at Oakthorpe Colliery in April and peep into the woods on the north side of the lake - you'll be rewarded by the sight of large patches of primroses which seem to be growing year on year. At the end of the lake nearest the car park the valley is a wonderful carpet of green and yellow where the new growth is generously carpeted with celandine.
A recent stroll around Sence Valley revealed beautiful patches of Marsh Marigolds dotted along the feeder streams and brought to mind previous visits to Carvers Rocks where these wonderful blooms usually put on a magnificent display at this time of year.
With the arrival of the warmer weather suddenly our lawns and verges start to grow - lush green grass springs up and out come the lawnmowers. No sooner have we started to admire the smooth green surface we've created than, horror or horrors, we see dandelions popping their smiling yellow faces up. Please don't reach for the weedkiller though - they are a great source of food for bees at this time of year and it is wonderful to see many roadside verges being allowed to grow and provide this kind of forage now. You've got to admire their resourcefulness too - cut them off with the lawnmower and they just grow back and pop up their flowers at a lower height! Just watch a big fat bumblebee enjoying the fruits of a dandelion bloom and you are bound to find yourself smiling.
I'm looking forward to enjoying carpets of blue soon, but currently wallowing in the yellow!
I just can't resist a footpath sign. The lure of that little arrow just says 'explore me' and sooner or later I just have to find out where it goes. Happily the National Forest is just full of paths. Public footpaths, permissive paths, tracks, trails and long distance paths - we've got the lot!