The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Spring in Dorset

Bradley Ellement chronicles one of the most uplifting times of the year

Near the River Allen in Wimborne St Giles

The author of children’s classics Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, E B White, wrote: ‘The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.’

Kingston Lacy's Beech Avenue

It is a rare person, though, who is not somehow improved by the sight of new yellowy-green beech leaves against a blue sky. Spring is, according to Frances Hodgson Burnett in The Secret Garden, ‘sun shining on the rain and rain falling on the sunshine.’ For the American Methodist minister, Virgil Kraft: ‘Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world’, while in The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy wrote of a spring day that was one ‘as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what’.

A carpet of bluebells wakes to the dawn's new sun

Spring in Dorset is about as good a time and about as good a place as there is to be alive; in woodlands – whose trees burst forth in bud and leaf with a thousand different shades of green, while below the floor is carpeted with anemones, wild garlic and bluebells – the essence of spring is new life. In the fields, carpets of green pasture contrast with the almost too-bright shimmer of rape; the hedgerows throw forth new life and, with road-side trees, create green tunnels of quiet, cool shade on country lanes, before one bursts again into the warm sunshine.

Spring sunlight on leaves bursting forth in East Dorset woodland

All around, there is the hum of tiny insects, swirling in shape-shifting nebulae at head height on country walks, while the flowers of bulbs yield to later-blooming plants. The birds sing, mammals enjoy the longer days and warmer nights, and the simple act of breathing in the heady scents of unknown fragrant blooms caught on a breeze, lifts the heart and makes us feel renewed and refreshed.

Showers approach a hilltop copse in North Dorset

Spring is here; it is time to get out and about and to feel the sun on our skins, to forget about winter’s travails and, while shielding our eyes from a sun of whose radiance we had all but lost all memory, to gaze around us at the wonders of the county in which we live.

Bluebells in Pamphill make an appearance

 

Flowers compete for light in Ferndown Forest

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