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Nature diary entries tell story of extraordinary spring under lockdown - The National Trust

Nation’s observations of first week of spring show the ‘solace and hope’ which nature can bring in a time of unprecedented uncertainty

Hundreds of diary entries brought together in new creative essay by nature writer Natasha Carthew

Spring Nature Diary is the idea of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, National Trust and the Land Lines research project

Duckling at Mordern Hall Park, London. ©National Trust Images/ Martin Freeman
Duckling at Mordern Hall Park, London. ©National Trust Images/ Martin Freeman

Hundreds of diary entries written during the first official week of spring have been published by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and National Trust today as part of a new piece of nature writing which reveals the nation’s observations and feelings about the natural world in unprecedented times.

The entries include descriptions of birdsong and blossom by people in self-isolation, sightings of wildlife through windows, and reflections on health and family. The observations have been brought together in a creative essay by nature writer Natasha Carthew, who said ‘it was important to not only celebrate the arrival of spring, but to capture the nation’s thoughts and fears and include them in a tale of hope and rebirth.’

The Spring Nature Diary is the brainchild of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the National Trust and the Land Lines research project at the University of Leeds.

Nature lovers and budding writers were encouraged to pen 150 words about their observations of the start of spring, as seen in their gardens, through windows or while exercising, before submitting them to a special website. The initiative was launched on 20 March 2020, the first official day of the season, and closed for entries a week later. A total of 180 entries were submitted.

Natasha Carthew, whose essay Hope’s Heart Beats is published today, said: “I absolutely loved weaving all the different nature observations into the story, each diary entry was like a found object gifted from folk all over the country and it was a great privilege to be asked to stitch them into the most beautiful tapestry. It was really important when writing ‘Hope’s Heart Beats’ to not only celebrate the arrival of spring, but to capture the nation’s thoughts and fears and include them in a tale of hope and rebirth.”

Read the full essay here. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/hopes-heart-beats

The complete collection of diary entries can be downloaded from: nationaltrust.org.uk/nature-diary

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