Spring arrives in Cornwall earliest of all. Violets, bluebells, primroses and campion festoon the granite hedges, carpet the fields and splash the woodlands with colour; the astringent tang of wild garlic, crushed underfoot, spices the sea breeze.
Since time began, Nature's re-awakening has been a time of celebration amongst the communities of Cornwall. Indeed, two great festivals - Flora Day at Helston and Padstow's Obby Oss Day - are undoubtedly of pagan origin.
In the great gardens, many of them strung like a necklace along the length of Cornwall's south coast, exotic blooms thrust upwards to meet the sun. The Festival of Spring Gardens attracts visitors from all over the world in April and May. Its magnificent gardens apart, Cornwall offers the spring traveller an appealing range of visitor attractions. Walking the thrift-edged coastal path or strolling through lanes hung with blackthorn blossom is a pure delight, while cycling can be an ideal way to view the landscape from a new perspective - take the gentle Camel Trail, for instance.
Cornwall's four scenic railway branch lines are attractions in themselves, and for the steam buffs the Bodmin and Wenford Railway proves just the ticket. A short boat trip takes you over the sea to St. Michael's Mount, while a leisurely cruise or brief flight brings you to the blessed Isles of Scilly.
Water-sports can be particularly exhilarating and Cornwall's golf courses are entrancing in these early months while leaf, flower and bird shake out their spring time finery.
Specialist free guides on water-sport activities, golf and gardens are available from Cornwall Tourist Board, together with details of Activity or Special Interest holidays with trained tutors who are also genial hosts.