Spring officially began last Sunday according to the calendar. But for Mother Nature, springtime has already been blooming and sprouting for weeks in Prehen Wood, Londonderry.
After a very mild winter and the hottest February on record, according to the Met Office, the woodland spring flowers in Prehen Wood are starting to bloom a month earlier than usual.
Prehen Wood, which is owned and managed by the Woodland Trust, is one of Northern Ireland’s rare and irreplaceable ancient woods, dating back as far as 1600. It rustles with history and wildlife, and comes alive in the spring time when a sea of shimmering bluebells bloom to decorate the woodland floor.
Local Woodland Trust Volunteer for Prehen Wood, George McLaughlin, said: “This year is the earliest that bluebells have ever been spotted in Prehen Wood. They usually make their debut around mid-April so it was surprising to spot them in early March.
“However, this does mean that we get to enjoy one of nature’s most magical sites sooner than expected.
“When spring hits and the flowers begin to bloom, Prehen Wood is a sight to behold and I encourage people to pop by and enjoy its natural beauty.”
Walkers are invited to see the show for themselves thanks to a guided walk which is being organised by members of Prehen Historical & Environmental Society and local wildlife expert Christine Cassidy in late Spring. Further details will be available shortly.
The Woodland Trust is calling for the Northern Ireland public to record sightings of early flowering bluebells and other wildlife as part of its Nature’s Calendar survey.
Recording the changing seasons through Nature’s Calendar helps wildlife experts to better understand the effects of a changing climate on our UK flora and fauna.
To become a Nature’s Calendar recorder, visit naturescalendar.woodlandtrust.org.uk