It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
For the Northern Hemisphere today marks the first day of Spring in the astronomical calendar with the arrival of the earliest March Equinox in 120 years. In the meteorological world the official start of Spring started March 1st and over the last few weeks it has certainly felt like winter was coming to an with the appearance of daffodils and croquis, new born lambs playing in the fields and the absence of frost on the car windscreen but from today we can also enjoy longer daylight hours.
Needless to say we love this time of year, the drawn out days and milder weather means we are able to spend more time walking in the countryside, you can hike the same route throughout March and April and everyday it will be different as nature slowly emerges from it’s winter hibernation.
From the cherry blossoms in Japan to the bluebell filled woods of the British countryside, March to May is the time of year to venture outdoors and enjoy nature at it’s finest. So if you’re wondering how to spend the first day of Spring here are our recommendations on where to
View An Ancient Monument
Dating back thousands of years the Spring Equinox has been celebrated by countries and cultures around the world, ancient civilizations built temples, pyramids and stone circles designed to calculate the exact date of equinoxes and other astronomical events. Across the UK and Ireland we are fortunate to have such monuments and remains on our doorstep. Grianan of Aileach in County Donegal in Ireland, a ring fort dating back to the 6th or 7th century is aligned to the rising of the sun so that at the precise moment of the equinox a beam of light enters the ring dividing the stone circle in half. Stonehenge in Wiltshire was in part an ancient calendar designed to predict astronomical events , every March it plays host to thousands of visitors from the across the world who come to welcome in the first day of Spring.
Enjoy The Outdoors
The weather may not be warm enough quite yet to loose those extra layers but it’s definitely time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Over the next few weeks coastal peninsulas and hedgerows will burst in to colour, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path famous for it’s wildflowers will be covered in Yellow Flags and Bell Heather and other fauna, at their best during Spring and early summer. British woodland from the Wye Valley to The Ridgeway showcase the remaining snowdrops and daffodils before making way for carpets of bluebells and wild garlic.
For those of us that enjoy gardening then you may not want to venture much past the front gate this weekend. I for one am looking forward to tackling the weeds, shrubs and dead leaves that have left my once tendered flower beds looking a little sad and unloved. But it’s not just us British that love our gardens, in ancient Italy Sicilian women would mark the first day of Spring by planting seeds in Adonis’ garden, a tradition that’s still followed today with the planting of flowers and vegetables in pots.
As for us well we are going to attempt at least two of the above with a walk along a section of the Offas Dyke Path and a visit to the ruins of White Castle, we may even have to stop at a traditional pub for a roast dinner, well it is Sunday after all.