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Wow, January felt a very long month. Often grey and wet. I did however continue to find my daily natural delights during my time spent in Epping Forest. I find February can feel as though nature is pausing a beat before throwing itself into the joy of Spring. Within this pause are some real treats, including three of my favourite sights marking the start of the transition from dormant to vibrant.

As I walk the muddy trails of the forest, I hear the birdsong beginning to grow louder. At dusk, I pass a thick set of holly bushes and ivy-clad oak. High up in the branches I can hear a Mistle Thrush singing its heart out. In the lower reaches, a blackbird is barking away patrolling its patch. This birdsong will build until its peak in May.

The sight of Snowdrops amongst all the dull winter colours filled my heart. I’ve seen them bursting through in our village churchyard – a sign of purity since the middle ages.

At the edges of Epping Forest, I love the sigh of hazel catkins dangling from the bare branches. The catkins wave in the winter winds that rattle the edges of the forest. Catkins are male flowers and emerge long before I see any the leaves. February might feel like a dormant month. There is much to enjoy for those that look beyond the grey.

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