Celebrate the spring equinox with blossom and cake in Bishopthorpe Village!
The spring equinox on 20 March is a glorious day to get out and about. Everything is bursting into life at last – especially the blossom!
Why not take a walk or ride to the lovely village of Bishopthorpe to the south of York? It’s a site of ancient orchards, and the blossom from all the fruit trees is starting to come out with a fanfare!
If it’s a sunny day, there’s nothing like blossom against a blue sky to lift your spirits. Get close to the blooms, take in their fragile beauty, breathe in deeply and let the scent permeate and calm. If you listen carefully, you may be lucky enough to hear early bumbling bees enjoying the new life and food.
Tuning into nature
Celebrate Japanese-style under the blossom trees at But First café in Bishopthorpe Village, while munching a slice of their fabulous cake! Do take a moment to savor the presence of the blooms, and the cake, of course :). Recent research shows that even a few moments tuning into the beauty of nature can help your emotional well being.
Take a short walk by the river. Blue space is just as calming as green. Cross the road by But First cafe, turn left and walk down the avenue to the right of the wood, and onto the riverside path at the end. You’ll pass a beautiful ruined church, and there is seating just round the corner with fine river views. You may find a moment to soak up some spring sunshine!
Join the National Trust’s Blossom Watch campaign this year. They are asking us to share blossom pictures online using the hashtag #BlossomWatch and to track blossom sightings across the country. There’s also a guide to identifying blossom on the Blossom Watch page,
Here in York, we and Abundance York have our very own Blossom Watch. All you need to do is take a picture of any blossom you find in and around the city, with its location, and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #BlossomWatchYork2021. This will enable others around York to find it and enjoy the moment of blossom delight too! Feel free to tag @yorkbikebelles @abundanceyork so we can help spread the word. @yorksakuraexployer also does lovely postings of Japanese cherry blossom around the city, with a companion Japanese Cherry blossom map.
Ride the Green Route! Get on Sustrans’ route 65 by bike at York and enjoy a traffic-free spring journey, over the Knavesmire, along the Solar System Path and into Bishopthorpe Village. You can follow the Slow Tour of Yorkshire Map of the route.
When you emerge in a residential cul-de-sac in Bishopthorpe village, turn left (the main signposted route goes straight ahead). It’s a short distance to Main Street, with But First cafe at the far end, on the left.
Accessibility: The route is traffic-free and tarmacked all the way. There are short uphill inclines from the river to The Chocolate Works and by the A64. There is also a short bumpy stretch by the A64.
Walk the Green Route! There’s a wonderful route from the Millennium Bridge along the river to the village and back via the Knavesmire. You can see the route on one of the new Exploring York Maps.
When you emerge on Bishopthorpe Road, turn left and walk down the pavement for 5 mins to reach the Main Street. You’ll be treated to a grand view of Bishopthorpe Palace on your left.
Accessibility: There are three stiles between the Millennium Bridge and Bishopthorpe and the path can be uneven and muddy.
Giving something back
Grow your own fruit trees – there’s a guide here.
Support Edible York, a local community group who do amazing work planting, looking after and harvesting fruit trees around York. They are always looking for volunteers to help.
Pick up litter as you go. Both routes to Bishopthorpe are very popular, and can be littered. Litter has a major adverse impact on wildlife. You can check out some top tips for litter-picking safety from the Wildlife Trusts here.
Original post drafted 20 March 2020. Updated 19 March 2021.
You can find other Nature Time routes across York through the seasons from us here. Enjoy time in Nature on a green route walk or ride – all year round!
We rely on donations and grants to fund our work towards a healthy, green and kind York. You can donate at https://yorkbikebelles.community/donate/.
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