With the long, dark month of January now behind us, the arrival of February brings with it the promise of brighter days ahead.

However, as we well know, particularly from the experience of recent years, February can bring with it some unseasonably balmy days that make us start to feel spring is in the air and then depart with a sting in its tale.

Indeed much of the wildlife and plant life in Epping Forest, which is managed as a registered charity by the City of London Corporation, is still slumbering this month.

Beneath the leaves and within the log piles many creatures are still in hibernation.

It’s important to remember this, when the warmer days tempt us into starting a little spring clean in our own gardens just a little bit too early.

However, one species most definitely awake and active this month is the birds.

They are busy starting their courtships and securing territories (listen out for the echoing drum of the woodpecker you may hear reverberating around the leafless trees in the woodland just now).

As the weather warms hopefully later in the month, you will find the frogs begin spawning and some reptiles will venture forth to soak up the warming rays of the winter sun.

As spring’s arrival naturally triggers in us humans the motivation to ‘spring clean’ our own territories, one thing we would encourage you to be mindful of is the need to responsibly dispose of any waste.

If you’re hiring someone to undertake some work for you, please do be aware that it is your responsibility to check that anything being taken from your home is to be disposed of properly.

Fly-tipping in Epping Forest is not just unsightly, it is illegal and a hazard to wildlife and people.

When we find fly-tips in the Forest we investigate fully and always prosecute where possible.

If waste is traced back to a residential property, it can be the householders who are liable to face prosecution.

Clearing waste, including fly-tips from this beautiful and unique woodland, much of which is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, costs the City of London Corporation greatly.

In fact, every year approximately £440,000 is spent managing litter, waste and enforcement in Epping Forest. Obviously, those important funds could be put to far better use.

For now, do enjoy this last opportunity of the winter season to take in some views, which can be better viewed from vantage points when the trees are bare.

Graeme Doshi-Smith is the chairman of the City of London Corporation Epping Forest and Commons Committee