Forest of Dean’s daffodil weekends – a real harbinger of spring

Gwen___Vera_s_field(rev 0)
The wild daffodil splendour of Gwen and Vera’s field, Forest of Dean (copyright Caroline Aistrop)

If you fancy seeing a real riot of nature this weekend or next weekend, the Oxenhall and Dymock Daffodil weekends are a must. They’re a celebration of the wonderful sign of the coming spring which we all love to see – the daffodil. In this case, it’s the wild daffodil which grows in profusion through the woods and fields around three villages – Oxenhall, Kempley and Dymock. Never mind those hosts of golden daffodils in the Lake District, Wordsworth could easily have been writing about his walk through the countryside in the Forest of Dean.

Each village takes it in turn to host the weekend – last week’s was due to be in Kempley but was cancelled due to the snow. This weekend is centred at the Oxenhall village hall and next weekend, Dymock village hall is the host. Today and tomorrow, the wardens from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will be leading guided walks around Betty Dawes Wood, a trust reserve which is one of the jewels of the daffodil woods. The walk is just 1.5 miles long and flat, on the whole, so a good place for a family outing if you’ve got small children. The wood will probably be muddy after all the recent rain and snow so go prepared with wellies or walking boots. There’s also a 5 mile guided walk leaving from the village hall at 10am.

After the walks, be sure to leave time for a visit to the village hall to indulge in the delicious cakes, pasties or even a lunch. The cakes are usually fab, home baked by the villagers themselves. Plus there’s a plant and white elephant stall, and an exhibition in the church by the local history society. All the monies raised go to local clubs and good causes. Dymock’s weekend includes a craft fair in the village hall.

All-in-all, I love these weekends and revel in the shear ‘Englishness’ of them plus the infectious enthusiasm and love of the volunteer for ‘their’ daffodils and their villages. These weekends are the real annual harbingers of spring for me.

More details about Oxenhall’s weekend: http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/whatson/all/e-1372-Oxenhall_Daffodil_Festival 

More details about Dymock’s weekend: http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/whatson/all/e-136-Spring_Fayre__Daffodil_weekend 

wild daffodil single flower