Nearing the end of a long and cold winter means one thing – spring is well and truly on the horizon. As flowers come into bloom and new life is born, so too emerges our desire to get back out into the great outdoors and spend more time in nature.
This year the spring equinox will fall on 20th March, when both of the earth’s hemispheres will receive equal amounts of sunlight and moonlight, setting the precedent for longer days and shorter nights in the northern hemisphere, up until the autumn equinox.
Max, Chief Adventurer at CamperDays, the Booking.com of campervans, says, “Spring camping trips have long been popular with Brits, but the threat of such changeable weather can put people off. So, why not try a campervan trip instead?
“Campervan availability remains high and the roads are quieter than in the peak summer months – particularly beneficial for first-time road-trippers seeking a taste of life on the road.
“Fresh colours create beautiful vistas, and the scent of new flowers perfume the air around us, not to mention the abundance of wildlife activity happening all around us. There really is something for everyone to enjoy on a spring road trip.”
Read on for Max’s suggestions for springtime sights and activities in the UK…
Heron-watching in the Peak District
Spotting the elusive heron is made easier during the spring months, when these elegant birds begin breeding.
View the marvellous spectacle at Trentabank Reservoir by Macclesfield Forest on the Cheshire side of the Peak District, where herons build “heronries”, an amalgamation of heron nests made of sticks, high up in trees.
At Trentabank and other heronries in the UK, you can marvel at the birds’ stillness as they stand in the water or witness spectacular aerobatics as herons chase and play with one another in the air.
Meander through carpets of bluebells in Norfolk
Bickling Estate in Norfolk is famed for its bluebells in spring, with swathes of the ambrosial flower forming a carpet across the Great Wood.
Ramble along the winding paths of the estate in late April to early May for your best chance of spotting the spring spectacle.
With beautiful landscapes, spectacular historic towns and long, flat roads, the Norfolk Broads make a fantastic road trip for those looking to embark on their first adventure this spring.
Tree-spotting in Cornwall
Aspiring dendrophiles can spot ancient and unusual trees in many places across the UK, and Devichoys Wood, midway between Truro and Falmouth, is replete with wizened and gnarled sessile oaks.
These quiet giants have comprised the Cornish woodland since at least the 1650s, and if you look closely, you can see that many have more than one trunk. This is thanks to a historical management technique known as ‘coppicing’, the act of periodically cutting a tree to ground level to stimulate growth for timber.
And as you stroll under the newly emerging spring leaves, you can witness the unusual phenomenon known as ‘crown shyness’, the name for the gaps between the outermost branches of the trees that allow them to access more light and prevent the spread of leaf-eating insects.
Spring tides are perfect for rockpooling
Low tides in the spring create the perfect conditions for seeing the varied wildlife that reside in rockpools. On Killiedraught Bay in Eyemouth, slightly north of Berwick-upon-Tweed in Scotland, you can spot sea marine plants such as bladderwrack and kelp, and marine animals like breadcrumb sponges, bootlace worms and butterfish.
With a number of campervan parks in Eyemouth to choose from, rockpooling is perfectly accessible for adventurers on wheels, and a great activity for multi-generation family holidays.
Greeting the spring, pagan style
Stravinsky’s notorious 1913 ballet “The Rite of Spring”, whose pounding, earthy choreography famously stirred sensitive bourgeois audiences on its premiere, depicts an ancient pagan society performing a sacrificial ritual for the coming of spring.
Symbolic of renewal and rebirth, the coming of spring has intrinsic ties to pagan religions, culture and folklore, and still holds an immense cultural legacy to this day. That’s why each year at Stonehenge, a Neolithic monument with which pagan religions have a particular affinity, druids, pagans, and Wiccans gather at the curious rock formation to witness the sunrise on the morning of the spring equinox.
With three caravan and campervan sites in the vicinity, a spring equinox celebration at Stonehenge is an accessible and alternative way to welcome the new season.
Fields of gold
Emblematic of spring is the daffodil flower, and where better to see daffodils than in Wales, the country where they are the national flower?
Coed y Bwl in Bridgend, Wales is home to a large swathe of wild daffodils; the sight of which is sure to put a spring in your step as the light at the end of the winter tunnel comes into view.
With a caravan park in nearby Cowbridge, the nature reserve is accessible by bus, and you can round off the day with a nightcap in one of the many cosy pubs back in the village.
Welcome the spring at Kew Gardens
For city-dwellers, a visit to Kew Gardens to welcome springtime is a must. Home to over 50,000 plants – the largest living collection on earth – Kew Gardens is bursting with life during the spring months.
Visit in late April to early May to witness a plethora of spring spectacles, including abundant cherry blossoms and swathes of bluebells as you wander through the world-famous gardens.