Spring in Wales

The Spring (March, April, May) is one of the prettiest seasons with blooming flowers and warming temperatures. Those planning a spring break in Wales can expect temperatures to range from about 5°C to 16°C but it can get much warmer.

March comes in like a lion
And goes out like a lamb.

March is generally a boisterous month as atmospheric circulation throughout the Northern Hemisphere is at its maximum because the temperature difference between the North Pole and the Tropics is at its greatest. The pole is at its coldest after nearly six months of night. Meanwhile, in Wales, wild daffodils are dancing to the wind, daisies and dandelions making the meadows white and gold and early primroses hiding in the hedges. Some of the trees know that spring is coming. Sycamore and Horse Chestnut leaves are opening around the holiday cottages and the Hazel on the river bank is showing those red tufted buds that mean nuts next autumn. Sometimes in March you will see a pair of rooks practising good manners. They stand beak to beak, bowing to eachother in the politest way. A spring break in Wales is great for bird watching as the summer migrants start to arrive. Chiffchaffs can be heard around the farm having arrived from their winter break in Morocco. Swallows begin to arrive from late March onwards having travelled the whole length of Africa, from the southern tip, to get to Wales.

April sun and April showers
Bring forth summer flowers

The Earth and atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere are warming up rapidly after the winter. This produces turbulence in the air and some thundery showers. This combination of rising temperatures and showers are ideal for the early growth of Spring flowers like wild violets and wood sorrel meaning busier days for the butterflies and bees. The birds are no less busy than the bees and some may already have built their nests. More summer migrants arrive – the cuckoo and willow warbler from Cameroon, Ivory Coast and other central African countries and the House Martin from more southerly countries such as Zimababwe. Leaves begin to emerge all over the farm – Elm, Beech, Oak, Larch, Lime, Walnut, Plane, Poplar and Ash are just some to look for. However, as the farm emerges from its seasonal slumber, Winter can have one final sting in its tail – a cold snap can mean April snow.

Who shears his sheep before
St Servatius’s Day
Loves his wool more than his sheep.

St Servatius’s Day is on May 13th. This saying refers to the fact that as the skies become clearer, the nights may be frosty and sheep shorn before this date may not survive the cold. As temperatures gradually rise the latter part of May is often fine, but with a risk of thunderstorms. And what of the farm? Poets call May the merry month. It is wonderful to think of all the millions of nests there are, nests hidden among leaves, nests in holes, too, full of young birds; and of countless other nests, too, in holes and burrows full of young animals – baby foxes, rabbits, hares, field mice and hedgehogs. The lambs on the field are now well grown and the woodland floors are carpeted with bluebells whilst early foxgloves hide in the shade. Rhododendrons of varying hues – red, pink, white and mauve are in all their glory as are the hawthorn bushes and apple blossom. May is a great time for playing tree leaf detective – a children’s favourite. Dawn photograph expeditions (daybreak is at 5am) are often rewarding at this time of the year as layers of mist (the result of rapid changes between day and night temperatire) and the first light of day can combine to spectacular effect. The brown trout arrive in the stream outside the holiday cottages to lay their eggs and can sometimes be seen jumping for the mayflies that dance up and down by the dozen over the water. Keep an eye out for the grey Heron – the enemy of fish that can often be seen standing silently in the stream outside the holiday cottages awaiting his next meal. If you are very lucky you may notice a flash of green and blue as a Kingfisher leaves its waterside perch. One of our last summer migrants arrives – the Swift arrives from the Central African jungles of the Congo. Their screaming is a true sound of summer. The fields are full of grass as the first cut of silage is often made at the end of May.