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Spring Diary

Generations of writers have sought to capture the beauty and meaning of the arrival of spring and the burst of new life that signals the change of season”

says Professor Roey Sweet, Director of Partnerships and Engagement, at the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Early morning in the woodlands at Sherborne Park. Credit National Trust Images & Chris Lacey
This image: View of the dovecote at Nymans with magnolia in bloom. Credit National Trust Images & John Miller. Main image: Early morning in the woodlands at Sherborne Park. Credit National Trust Images & Chris Lacey.

The first day of spring marks a turning point in the year, bringing the promise of new life and lighter days.

Nature writing has long celebrated the advent of this season: Dorothy Wordsworth, walking in Somerset on the 20 March 1798, comments, ‘No green trees, only the hedges are budding, and looking very lovely’; Derek Jarman, in his Dungeness journal, notes that on 21 March 1989, ‘Deep in the middle of the woods, in the most secret glade, primroses are blooming’; and Melissa Harrison, describing what spring means to her writes, in 2016, ‘For me it’s snowdrops, fat black buds on the ash trees and the blackbird’s first song that tell me spring’s arrived’. 

Today (Wednesday 20 March 2019) the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the LandLines research team supported by the National Trust,  Natural England, and the Field Studies Council, invited you to join with nature lovers all over the UK to create a crowd-sourced spring nature diary. Please note entry has now closed.

In no more than 150 words write your own nature observations in prose or poetry, letting us know where you are – whether that’s a park, an urban garden, or a rural nature reserve – and what you can see and hear.  It might be the song of a chiffchaff returned from its winter migration, frog spawn in the local pond, the first bumblebees visiting newly blooming wildflowers, or simply a fox darting through a city centre at dawn. Your words will help us to create a record of the spring as it sweeps across the country.

Contributions uploaded here will be live-curated during the day to appear on a special page on this website (see link below). The nature writer Abi Andrews will then be editing a selection of the entries into an e-book. The diary will provide a unique snapshot of the first day of Spring as well as marking an important moment in the history of nature writing in the UK.

We also encouraged people to share their first day of spring encounters with the natural world and images using the hashtag #springnaturediary.

See the entries for our Spring Diary that we received on our first day.

Please note also that although your entry may not appear on the Entries for our Spring Diary webpage, all entries will go forward to appear on our eBook which will be produced later this summer. Follow the hashtag #springnaturediary to keep up to date.

Thank you for submitting your entries and we hope to run a similar crowd-sourcing celebration of Spring next year after this year's fabulous response.