A Spring Nature Trail

Spring Nature Trail Collage

As soon as she came home from school yesterday my youngest daughter (4) told me that she wanted to ‘go and find nature things’. Her elder sister was at an after school club and the sun was shining so it was a good time for a nature trail. We keep a little basket near the front door for collecting and she ran to fetch it at top speed.

First in her list of treasures were daisies. I’m afraid to say that we don’t always keep the verge in front of our cottage very well mown. The daisy population is thriving, and if we’re especially lazy buttercups, plaintain and sometimes hop-flowered trefoil emerge too. She went to work picking daisies for her basket. The ones with pink-edged petals are the most highly-prized. Once she was satisfied we made our way up the dirt track to the wood.

Picking daisies in Spring

In high summer this track is lined with poppies but just now there are is blackthorn blossom in the hedgerows and garlic mustard (jack by the hedge) and cow parsley are just about to break into flower. Youngest bagged a dandelion and then spotted the blossom. ‘Mummy! Let’s get some!’

Wild Blossom in Spring

At this point I explained that if we picked the blossom then her favourite tiny plums wouldn’t come later in the year, so we agreed that we’d just pick up any blossom that had fallen to the ground. She was satisfied with that. At this point we found an empty snail shell. ‘The snail must have found another house Mummy.’ I didn’t like to correct her.

Snailshell in Spring

Next she came across some twigs. ‘I want some clean ones Mummy, I don’t like these lumpy green ones.’ I explained that the green lumpy stuff was lichen, that it was a special kind of plant and it meant that the air in the wood was very clean. That seemed to make it just about desirable enough so several lichen-covered sticks went into the basket.

Finally we reached the gate that both my girls like to climb on. Beyond it is ‘the buttercup meadow’. There’s a fantastic population of hop-flowered trefoil here, but most excitingly there are several plants of wild salsify or ‘Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon’. Who was Jack I wonder? Sometimes he was by the hedge, sometimes in the pulpit. I asked on Twitter – apparently he represents everyone.

Favourite climbing gate on a nature trail in spring

We picked one or two buttercups. I reasoned that this was alright since there are literally thousands of plants growing here. Then we returned home to make a tiny nature ‘table’ (on a vintage enamel plate). The demise of the school nature table is something that many of us mourn but making one at home can be just as fun and we’re very pleased with ours.

Final feather

Note: We live in a rural village but we didn’t find anything very exotic on our walk. Parks are just as good for finding items for a nature table.

Thanks for reading,


8 responses to “A Spring Nature Trail

  1. This is a lovely read Emma, it must be lovely to live in a rural place and you and your daughters must find endless inspiration 🙂 Hope you are all enjoying the weather! Safxxx p.s. really love the new nature inspired designs in your shop at the mo too 🙂

  2. Thanks Saffa. We do feel very privileged to live here as there are several kinds of nature habitats on our doorstep. Since we moved here I definitely feel more in tune with the changes associated with each season.

  3. What a productive nature walk – I like the idea of a nature table at home. This is such an exciting time of year with things popping up and getting ready to bloom. Our first violets just bloomed yesterday. 🙂

    I didn’t know that lichen signified clean air … thanks for mentioning that.

    • Oh hurray for the violets! ,,,and yes, isn’t it wonderful that everything’s growing again all of a sudden?

  4. I loved reading this Emma. My eldest son who’s 19 still comes in with feathers and shells from the beach that have caught his eye. We have little corners of nature around the house too. Karen x

  5. Oh that’s wonderful. I’m hoping my little ones will continue to bring in treasures when they’re older too.

    • A very good point. I shall encourage a meadow to grow on our verge (the neighbours might not thank me but the bees take priority)

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