Out like a lion…

On the last day of March the temperature drops 10 degrees and the next day the snow arrives on a cold north wind. March goes out like a lion.

At the start of March, the weather is not lambish at all. The skies are a constant stone grey and the sun entirely absent. The trees are bare save the catkins on the willows and the grass is dead brown. Mid-march and the sun appears and the land warms; there is two weeks of warm spring; the grass grows and the flowers and insects emerge. As the month ends, the bird cherry is blooming as is the blackthorn that is invading many of the abandoned pastures. In the gardens, Forsythia and Aubretia continue to flower, the early cherries turn to leaf and the apples and pears burst into blossom.

The small palette of wildflowers include violets, hepaticas, snowdrops, corydalis and helleborines in the bare woodlands. Oxlips and marsh marigold flourish in waterlogged corners and damp stream sides.

The butterflies are abundant on south facing slopes along track and footpaths and the majority are those to be found in southern England. Queen of Spain fritillary and clouded yellow are the exceptions.

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