Many people still enjoy getting out into the countryside in winter. Walking, horse-riding, golf, and many more activities continue through all seasons. Children may be enticed out on sleds and to build snowmen if we have snow.
Enjoying time in the countryside is beneficial for mental health, and this is especially important in winter, with the pressures of the holiday season and the long, dark nights. However, icy weather can mean some people need to stay indoors and this can make it a lonely time.
Farming work continues in winter, with animals being moved, some crops being harvested, and maintenance work taking place in preparation for the busy spring period.
Gamekeepers, rangers, environmentalists, forestry workers, fishermen and women, and harvesters will all be working through winter, while ministers, shopkeepers and vets will keep providing services for rural people and animals.
While some deciduous trees have completely dark, bare branches in winter, others, such as dogwood and some oaks, retain their leaves until very late, or even through to spring. Evergreens such as pine and holly keep their full foliage throughout winter, and inspire our festive decorations.
Bad weather can be disruptive for trees, with snow, ice, and high winds causing trees or branches to break and fall. Tree health needs to be managed closely by landowners and tree surgeons in winter.
You know winter’s here when the deciduous trees have shed their leaves, the bracken has died back, and the flowers and fruit of previous seasons have all but disappeared.
Frost and snow can make these landscapes look picturesque, and some plants even manage to keep flowering – you may have hardy cyclamen or hellebores in your garden, and as the saying goes, ‘When the gorse is flowering, kissing’s in fashion!’