After the coldness and bare branches of winter, spring is such a picturesque time on the orchards, especially at the well-established orchards COPSE help The National Trust look after at Swan Barn Farm. 

Observant people may have noticed that much of the spring blossom is slower to burst this year.  Crispin Scott, nature and wildlife adviser for The National Trust in the south east, said: “Here in Surrey and Sussex, the recent cold weather wasn’t as severe as in other parts of the country, and it looks like blossom in our gardens and countryside has escaped pretty much unscathed so far.

“The cold snap probably put blossom on hold for a week or so, but I’ve already started to see beautiful arches of blackthorn blossom, which is a boon for early spring insects. 

“We’re hoping a burst of warm weather in April will lead to a spectacular display of blossom in our orchards, gardens and countryside, which will be great news for our visitors and our wildlife too.”

This spring COPSE and volunteers will again be surveying the stages of blossom on Swan Barn Farm as well as other orchards in the area they cover. Last year they took part in FruitWatch, which received 6,000 submissions from the public in its first phase and is part of a joint project between the University of Reading and Oracle for Research.

The scheme, which restarted in February, monitors changes and trends in fruit tree flowering dates, with the data helping scientists further develop an understanding of the role climate change has on the coming of spring in flowering fruit trees, with potential problems for pollinators, such as bumblebees, leading to poorer crops and pushing up prices on some British apples.

If photography is more your thing, though, the National Trust is encouraging the UK public to explore and enjoy blossom and share spring impressions on social media with the hashtag #BlossomWatch. 

#Blossomwatch is part of a long-term campaign to return blossoming trees to our landscapes and create a UK equivalent of Japan’s ‘hanami’, the popular traditional custom where people of all generations get involved in enjoying the transient beauty of cherry blossom from March until May.

Locally, look out for blossom on the Lion Green Orchard. These young apple trees planted by community volunteers in February 2022 blossomed in their first spring and look set to be even more small scale spectacular this spring. 

The Arthur Turner is particularly renowned for its pink, blousey blossoms.

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