'Listen to the birds, touch a tree' - 6 ways to connect with spring
- Credit: Katie Haydn-Slater
Leaf buds, queen bumble bees emerging, thick green shoots of new fronds of bracken fern, rain drops captured on bright green moss - a few signs to look out for in your garden, local park or woodland if you are looking to reconnect with nature.
Katie Haydn-Slater, of Wild Oak Workshops in East Winch, runs creative workshops to help people slow down and reconnect with the natural world.
She said: "Nature is my therapy – it is the only way I feel I can ground myself and feel properly at peace.
"My daily dog walks in my local woods are crucial for me so that I can find a calm quiet moment to focus on something else other than the minutiae of my life.
"I know my woodland so well that I look for all the magical little signs of the seasons changing.
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"Most of us have completely stopped noticing the tiny little signs that spring is about to burst forth or the autumn mulching and composting ready for toadstools and mushrooms to break through the fallen autumn leaves.
"Once we start looking our eyes suddenly see so much more, particularly as grown-ups, always rushing and multi-tasking thoughts in our heads."
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She has offered us steps to help us switch off from life’s daily pressures and "reawaken and unleash" our creative side.
1. Find out where your local walk is at www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk
2. Listen out for birds
"Start to walk slowly and listen out for the birds in the trees and shrubs around you – they all have their special song and territory so you will be able to hear robins, wrens, blackbirds, wood pigeons and maybe the odd woodpecker.
"There are some brilliant free apps to recognise bird song and I bet you will be able to hear at least five just on your street or local park."
3. Admire the shapes of trees
"How they might sway in the wind, each tree has its own character and leaf shape and bark pattern – I am a proud tree hugger.
"There is something very reassuring when you hug a sturdy, strong dependable tree, you may even feel it moving whilst the branches up above are buffeted by the breeze.
"At the very least, touch the trunk or branch to feel the ridges and grooves or smoothness or roughness."
4. Look out for new growth
"Right now spring is finally rising up through the branches and you will notice tiny little lead buds, twisted tightly shut against the cold.
"But with each day of early spring sunshine these will start to unfurl and the trees will then start to be washed with a bright green mist of colour of the new leaves."
5. Create a hedgerow bouquet
"As you are walking, start to gather a few twigs with new leaves, just a few and also look for sticks on the woodland path floor covered in a beautiful yellowy green lichen- collect a few of these too.
"There is sure to be ivy winding and twining around a tree or up a wall, see how strong its fixing is and maybe peel off a few strands too to add to your hedgerow bouquet."
6. Bring nature indoors
"You might see an interesting piece of bark or a little cushion of moss, just take a tiny bit or an acorn cup
"Take all of your woodland treasures home and find a window sill to lay out your harvest.
"A jam jar or little jug is perfect to fill with water to place the stems in.
"Within a few days in your warm home the leaves will start to unfurl for a living memory of your wild walk in your local natural habitat."
The business owner will be running Easter workshops at her Wild Oak Workshop and is offering ’spring time in a box' which includes items to make your own spring wreath.
For more on the package and workshop visit wildoakworkshops.com/packages-1