the birds are singing at their heartiest before and around dawn. For the Celts this was Beltane, they used to turn their flocks out onto their summer grazing and the gods were invoked for their protection until Halloween. Celebrated with bonfires, the crowning of the May Queen and Robin Hood plays. Jack-in-the-Green Sweeps' Festivals, Morris and maypole dancing. Everyone can rise early with the birdsong and wash their face in the dew.
produce postcards celebrating festivals such as May Day (see illustration above). In 1988 they created the poster "Mayday! Mayday! Nature's Call For Help" showing 101 ways in which we all can make a difference to our surroundings. The poster originally appeared in The Independent newspaper and continues to be both relevant and popular. Copies of the poster and cards can be ordered from Common Ground's .
MAYDAY!the international distress signal "Mayday!" derives from the French "M'aidez" - 'help me'. "May Day? What's he talking about? That was weeks ago, it's nearly June!" (Tony Hancock in 'The Radio Ham', BBC 1962).
Ansty, Wilts - 96 foot, believed to be tallest in the country;
Maypole dance at Brockham Green, Surrey - local school children dance around the maypole on the village green, unless the ground is wet then the maypole is set up in the school yard (May Day unless a weekend then the Friday before). Teas are served on the green from the end of May until Bonfire Saturday when the weather allows;
Buckhorn Weston, Dorset;
Skinnington - N.Yorks, has a Steel maypole;
Offenham, Worcs has a permanent pole of 64 feet - on 1st May there is maypole dancing by villagers and displays of morris dancing;
May Day sees dancing & a procession at Ickwell Green, Beds;
In Wellow, Notts, the maypole is topped by a golden weathervane and stands permanently on the village green;
On the second or third Saturday in May there is Maypole dancing around the permanent maypole at Welford-on-Avon, Warks.
Beating the Bounds:
May 1st or more usually after Rogation Sunday. A custom dating from the 5th century when parishioners asked for God's blessing to protect their crops. During the Reformation walking the parish boundary became a more important part of the ceremony as it provided the community with a mental map which could be drawn on in disputes over boundaries. Celebrated with Ganging Beer and Rammalation biscuits.