As I write this I’m huddled over a steaming mug of tea, wearing my warmest jumper and waiting for the forecast sleet to start falling outside. I console myself with the thought that, though it might not feel like it, spring is on the way.

It probably hasn’t escaped long-term readers of these blogs that I’m no fan of winter! I’m not always right though— Aristotle said that “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” And for John Steinbeck “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

Get outdoors and go looking and it won’t take you long to spot the signs of nature coming back to life. The trees are already full of bud and the tips of the first bulbs are poking through the ground, ready to bring us snowdrops and daffodils, with primroses not far behind. Robins and blackbirds are singing already at dawn, eager for the spring to come, and it won’t be long before we start to notice blue tits and chaffinches pairing up for the breeding season.

Our ancestors recognised this as a time of renewal as well, for many it was traditional in mid-January to ‘wassail” apple trees, going from tree to tree singing songs and making lots of noise to wake the tree spirits from their winter slumbers.

Wassaile the trees, that they may bear, many an apple and many a pear.

We’ll be having a go at wassailing with Wild Ways Well this Saturday, so keep an eye on the trees for a great harvest! If you feel the need of winter boost then why not come out with our Volunteer or Wild Ways Well groups, guaranteed to beat the winter blues!


Robin standing on edge of bird table
Robins are already singing, eager for the spring to come

Paul Barclay