The April showers are over and next week the sun is booked to visit the Island for the Isle of Wight Walking Festival. I have two walks organised in Borthwood Copse, Winford, near Sandown. It’s an ancient woodland owned by the National Trust and used to be part of a medieval hunting forest.
It’s a fantastic place to see drifts of fragrant bluebells at this time of year and walking in this month I noticed many bluebells already out, together with many other spring flowers, such as wood anemones and celandines.
I walk in the wood a lot with my family and it was inspiration for many of the photos in my children’s book Jack and Boo’s Wild Wood. It’s chock full of wildlife and at this time of year, with leaf coverage still not in full growth, you’ll easily spot a red squirrel or two. If you listen carefully and look up you might hear woodpeckers and if you’re lucky, see them flying – Great Spotted Woodpeckers are black and white with a distinctive red patch of feathers under the white body.
Spring is a time for bumblebees, which if you look carefully you might see hovering up out of hibernation holes in the ground or shivering on a leaf, to build up heat to fly in search of nesting spots, or in search of vital nectar to fill their honeystomach – they can fly for up to 40 minutes on a full tank.
So if you and your family fancy a walk and spotting signs of spring in a beautiful wood, I’ll be at the main entrance of Borthwood Copse, by the number 8 bus stop on Alverstone Road, Winford, Isle of Wight. PO36 0LD on the following dates:
The walk is free with voluntary donations to The National Trust’s Borthwood Copse conservation fund. It’s an unguided walk where you can walk at your own pace with your family using my map and spotter guide. I’ll be at the entrance from 1pm till around 3pm. The walk is a mile or so, but you can make it shorter or longer as there are various paths. It’s a nice circular walk that is ideal for families and children. If you have toddlers and an “off-road” buggy with tyres you can still join in and it’s dog friendly, but the National Trust ask that you keep them on a lead please – and the dogs! Boom-boom! (joke disclaimer).
If you come by car, there is limited parking on the road and also a small car park up the Alverstone road (past the turning to Forest Road) on your right. If you park then walk along to the main entrance to collect a map and Jack and Boo’s Wild Wood Spotter Guide!
If you enjoy my spring walks then think about visiting Borthwood again in autumn, when they’ll be lots of windfall seeds and fallen leaves to collect on Jack and Boo’s Scavenger Hunt during the October Walking Weekend (part of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival) on Sunday 28th October 2012.
Happy walking and spotting this spring!