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.
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 20th March 1798, comments, ‘No green trees, only the hedges are budding, and looking very lovely’; Derek Jarman, in his Dungeness journal, notes that on 21st 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 the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the LandLines research team supported by the National Trust, Natural England, and the Field Studies Council, invite you to join with nature lovers all over the UK to create a crowd-sourced spring nature diary.
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. 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’ll be encouraging people to share their first day of spring encounters with the natural world and images using the hashtag #springnaturediary.
Here is the link