The first signs of spring in Sussex have been appearing around the campsite recently. This makes it a good time to go looking for snakes.
The snakes hibernate over winter and then start to emerge from their burrows to bask in the early spring sunshine so that they can go hunting for prey to re build their bodies ready for summer.
Having a look around the campsite I uncovered a small mouse nest that has been built rather precariously under one of the snake boards in the camping meadow. These mice are running the gauntlet as this is a favoured spot during the summer for adders and grass snakes, both of which would be very pleased to see the young…. and the parents.
I also found the wild garlic leaves that have appeared. These are a delicious addition to salads and give off a strong garlicky smell which you can often enjoy as you walk or drive through woodlands where they grow.
Before it gets to late in the spring we needed to finish planting our hazel coppice which we have located on the Bank as a way of screening the barn. This hazel coppice will in time be a good habitat for the Dormouse who really like scrubby habitats and particularly hazel which can grow quickly after woodland clearance if the trees have been coppiced.
Irrespective of whether the dormouse arrives hazels a great plant for cutting small stems from which can be used for roasting marshmallows over a campfire so at least some of the local residents will be happy.
Alongside the new hazel planting we have put in a lot of wild and bird cherries which will add colour and a great food source for insect. They are also screening the large barn and it was great to see the leaves emerging on these young trees.
Hopefully we will get a good show of blossom in a few weeks time so come in april to see what happens