Month in pictures – March in the countryside

A selection of the month's best photos from the UK countryside

Common toad

By March, evidence of spring can be found in abundance cross the British countryside. Flowers – such as daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops – fill the road verges and woodlands, trees begin to bud, and the dawn chorus fills the morning air.

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From raucous rooks and emerging amphibians to Dartmoor’s spectacular granite tors, we’ve come across some amazing photography while putting together the March 2019 issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine. Celebrate the month with a few of our favourite images.

Brown hare (Lepus europaeus)

Hazel catkins

hazel catkins
Corkscrew hazel catkins releasing pollen ©Getty

As March, which often ‘enters like a lion but leaves like a lamb’, draws to a close, the display of hazel catkins has reached its peak. Gently tap a branch on a still, warm afternoon to set free a cloud of yellow pollen that hangs in the air for a moment, then vanishes, like will-o’-the-wisp. 


Rooks and their colonies

Rooks nesting
Rooks nesting ©Alamy

Rooks are so sociable that it’s rare to see one on its own; they build their robust nests next to each other in large rookeries, stay with the same mate for years or even life, and sometimes share food, too.


Pied flycatcher on the hunt

Pied flycatcher
European pied flycatcher with an insect in its beak ©Getty

In spring, birds such as the pied flycatcher gather insects to feed themselves and their growing broods.


Great crested newt

Great crested newt male
Great crested newt male ©Alamy

Male great crested newts have a ‘dragon’ crest along the length of the body that becomes more pronounced in the breeding season. Males have a white flash on the tale; the female’s is yellow. Widespread but declining rapidly due to habitat loss.


Dartmoor Artisan Trail

Blacksmith Greg Abel, Dartmoor Artisan Trail
Blacksmith Greg Abel, Dartmoor Artisan Trail, Devon ©Suzy Bennett

A 150-year-old Victorian forge can be found in the heart of Dartmoor, where blacksmith Greg Abel continues the tradition of hot forging. After visiting the forge to commission a curtain pole for a renovation project, photographer and Dartmoor Artisan Trail founder Suzy Bennett was inspired to photograph local artisans for an exhibition, which then developed to become the Dartmoor Artisan Trail.


Saddle Tor in Dartmoor

Saddle Tor on Dartmoor
Sunrise at a hawthorn tree at Saddle Tor on Dartmoor ©Getty

They may not be as colossal as the red rocks of Arizona but Dartmoor’s lonely granite tors have won global fame for their rugged charisma.


Loch Ard Forest in Stirlingshire

Loch Ard Forest, Stirlingshire
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park covers 200 square kilometres and is home to Britain’s largest off-road cycle network ©Alamy

The great Loch Ard Forest extends west from the attractive village of Aberfoyle towards the rugged hills beside Loch Lomond. It is something of a hidden treasure, boasting no less than 17 different species of conifer alongside remnants of ancient oaks. Wildlife includes red and roe deer, pine martens, otters, red squirrels and reintroduced water voles.


Singing Ringing Tree in Lancashire

Singing Ringing Tree, Burnley, Lancashire
Singing Ringing Tree, Burnley, Lancashire ©Getty

High above Lancashire’s Calder Valley a curious, eye-catching structure erupts from the derelict fieldscapes at the moorland edge: the remarkable Singing Ringing Tree.


Warwick Castle gardens in Warwickshire

Warwick Castle gardens
Mill Garden just below the Caesars Tower of Warwick Castle in Warwick, a medieval county town of Warwickshire ©Alamy

The work of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, Warwick Castle’s 64 acres of stunning landscaped gardens are home to over 20 peacocks and peahens.


Common toad reflection

Common toad
A wild common toad sitting on a mossy log ©Alamy

The common toad is warty and rough-skinned compared to the smooth skin of the common frog. Found throughout Britain (absent from Ireland) but prefers deeper water in lakes and ponds, where it lays strings of eggs. The black tadpoles tend to swim in shoals. 


Reader photo: barn owls

Barn owls
Barn owls ©Andrew Chapman
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“Three recently fledged barn owls waiting for a food drop. Moments later, the parent owl glided into the nearby barn with a short-tailed field vole,” said photography Andrew Chapman. “All the fledglings returned to the barn with some screeching, no doubt contesting the food! The family didn’t appear again until darkness fell.”