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Wildflower meadows, a staple of the British countryside, are a buzz of activity, especially in the spring and summer. It’s not just the wildflowers and fungi that rely on their diverse vegetation, in fact, a range of wildlife can call these habitats home. By growing a meadow, you can also create a home or hunting ground for bees, butterflies, invertebrates, birds, mammals and reptiles.

Here are some of the animals you might spot in a meadow:

Invertebrates

A Flower Beetle resting on a large Oxeye Daisy, image by Pip Gray
  • Creating a meadow can really make a buzz and life in the centre can be like rush hour for insects
  • You can see everything, from ants to grasshoppers and huge armies of beetles and bugs
  • For many invertebrates, the stems, roots and leaves of meadow grasses and flowers provide food and shelter
  • The Cockchafer Beetle, commonly known as the May Bug, relies on grassy areas to lay their eggs
  • The common Bird’s-foot-Trefoil alone is a food plant for 130 different species of invertebrates

Our friends at Buglife can tell you more

Bees

Buff tailed bumblebee feeding on Knapweed
  • Pollinators, such as bees, commute to meadows every day to feast on nectar and pollen
  • Managing a meadow appropriately will increase the number of wildflowers that it supports, thus increasing the foraging habitat for bumblebees and other foragers
  • Red-tailed Bumblebees, found across the UK, rely on a plentiful supply of wild plants including dandelions and red clovers to supply them with nectar and pollen
  • If you’re in a meadow, look out for bumblebees, burrowing bees, flower bees, carder bees and honeybees
  • There are about 270 species of bee in Britain

Buzz over to the Bumblebee Trust here.

Butterflies and Moths

  • Even in a small meadow, wildflowers can be a magnet for butterflies and moths
  • When you’re planting for butterflies it’s good to have a constant procession of flowering plants throughout the summer – something that is in flower for as long as possible – ideally from March to November
  • This means local populations of butterflies and moths will not have to travel too far to find food
  • The Meadow Brown butterfly is one of the most common species found in grasslands
  • While the brightly coloured Cinnabar Moth relies entirely on one of the sunniest wildflowers – the yellow Common Ragwort. The tiger-striped caterpillars munch on the plant before pupating underground over the winter, ready to emerge as moths the next year

Flutter over to Butterfly Conservation for a bit more

Birds

  • The many insects that call meadows home also support other wildlife like swallows, skylarks and yellow wagtails
  • Goldfinches and linnets feast on the abundant seed heads
  • While lapwings, curlew and starling search the ground for insects from early autumn to spring

Fly over to the RSPB for a bit more

 

Mammals

Brown hare
  • Meadows provide a place for wild animals to forage, breed and nest – and if the grasses are tall enough, they can provide shelter
  • A large number of small mammals can call meadows home – including mice, voles and shrews
  • They also attract birds of prey to meadows, especially owls and kestrels
  • Other mammals you might spot in a meadow include moles, rabbits, hares, badgers and grazing deer
    • And we can’t forget bats – who can be seen in the summer months flying low over grassland

Meander over to the Mammal Society to find out more

Reptiles and Amphibians

  • Allowing lawns or green spaces to develop into meadows can provide a great habitat for amphibians, reptiles and their prey – unlike closely-mown lawns
  • The tall grasses and flowers (vegetation) provide these animals with cover
  • Reptiles and amphibians also prefer native plant species and minimal use of pesticides as they mainly feed on invertebrates, other amphibians and small mammals

Slither over to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation to find out more

The landmark State of Nature report is a stark call to action, published by the RSPB. The headlines are alarming, with species populations in decline, species communities changing and extinction rates increasing. The report makes it clear that to protect our wildlife we need cohesion and mobilisation of all sectors of society.

Against this backdrop, and under the weight of responsibility to the environment, communities are now rallying together to ask for change. From small online actions such as signing petitions at home, to organising rallies in our capital, such as the Restore Nature Now demo organised by Chris Packham and his team in September 2023.

 

Who is speaking up for plants and fungi?

A group of protestors with banners reading 'restore nature' and 'our species need us now'

That’s what we asked ourselves when we were invited to join the Restore Nature Now rally.

Plantlife hasn’t traditionally taken much of an active stance as an organisation, but amidst the list of NGOs who would be attending, there was a stark absence of anybody to fly the flag for our flora and funga.

We recognise our own responsibility to step up for the plants and planet we love.

A group of children and adults painting banners in a room

Plantlife advocated for the need for plants and fungi to be prioritised and valued at all scales, from landscape management planning right up to government decision making.

We emphasised that our species need us now, that they are the fundamental building blocks of biodiversity, and we simply can’t afford to lose them.

We attended alongside over 40 organisations, enlisting the help of community art groups to help up visualise our mission into a banner and meeting with supporters who had responded to our call to action.

Ways you can stand up for nature

The loss of our plants and fungi is a political issue in that it affects every one of us, and is beyond party politics. Despite the central role they play in biodiversity support and carbon storage, plants and fungi are still overlooked and undervalued by decisionmakers.

Here’s some ways you can ask for change:

 

Take part in organised protests

The atmosphere at Restore Nature Now at DEFRA was exciting and energising, with talks, speeches, poems, songs and readings from scientists, artists and all kinds of empowered nature-lovers. Most organised events are inclusive, positive, safe and legal. It is awe-inspiring to hear people’s stories, hopes and visions. Look out for events shared by local groups and charities.

Spread the word

Regardless of which species or habitats we advocate for, each is interconnected and interdependent on each other. Like the formation or start of a whole new ecosystem, we need to make connections and have conversations with people beyond our organisations and groups. We need new friends and allies, people with a shared vision for change.

Support us

The money that supports us doesn’t just save wild plants through practical action for our most at-risk habitats and landscapes. It also fuels our passionate team of wild plant and fungi advocates to demand change at all levels, from local action to national governments. We can’t do this without you.

More ways to get involved…

How to Start a Community Meadow?

How to Start a Community Meadow?

Want to start a community meadow, but not sure where to begin? Read our guide to creating a flower-filled haven for your local community.

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow
Wildflower meadow landscape with a variety of species near Cardiff, Wales

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow

Whether it’s your back garden, local park, community field or lawn, wildflower meadows are amazing spaces with so much to offer.

The Wildlife in our Meadows
Duke of Burgundy butterfly on cowslip.

The Wildlife in our Meadows

From bumblebees to birds and moths to mammals – meadows are micro-cities of wildlife. Here's what to spot in your wildflower meadow.

Get lost in the miniature world of lichens and bryophytes

Did you know that there’s entire miniature kingdom, rich in hundreds of species that we can discover right on our doorsteps? Lichens and bryophytes can grow almost anywhere, from the intrepid lichens we can spot growing on our city centre pavements, to the tiny forests of mosses flourishing in woodlands.

Want to get started learning about these tiny but fascinating species? Join Lizzie Wilberforce on her journey to learn 10 moss species >

Discover winter on our reserves

Plantlife reserves aren’t just for summer! The wildflower meadows we manage, that bloom in a rainbow of colour in the summer, provide the perfect overwintering habitats for wildlife.

Our reserves team have spotted overwintering birds like Lapwing at our Lugg reserve in Herefordshire, and Snipe at Cae Blaen-dyffryn in Wales. Some of our most iconic winter species, Ivy, Holly and Mistletoe provide food for hungry birds and invertebrates at our Ranscombe and Joan’s Hill reserves.

Find your nearest reserve >

Go out and find NPMS species

The evergreen, spiny bushes of Gorse flower with a coconut perfume all year round, hence the phrase ‘when Gorse is in flower, kissing is in season’ – perhaps more relevant on our reserves home to Mistletoe! Gorse is one of our National Plant Monitoring Scheme species, a chance for volunteers to record plants which appear in designated squares across the country.

You might also spot Hart’s-tongue Fern on your woodland walks, or even Shepherd’s Purse on a school field!

Eagle-eyed plant spotters are encouraged to sign up to the NPMS scheme by picking a square here >

Leaving your lawn wild

If you took part in this years No Mow May and left an area of your lawn to grow wild year round, you’re helping nature this winter without having to lift a finger! Areas of longer grass left completely unmown from spring to autumn are home to a wider range of wildflowers, and the species that depend on them.

These long grasses left on the edge of your lawn provide valuable feeding material, shelter, and nesting sites for species such as hedgehogs, toads, butterflies and even lizards – connecting them across our landscape.

Read more tips on creating your wildest lawn yet >

More ways to enjoy plants and fungi

How to Start a Community Meadow?

How to Start a Community Meadow?

Want to start a community meadow, but not sure where to begin? Read our guide to creating a flower-filled haven for your local community.

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow
Wildflower meadow landscape with a variety of species near Cardiff, Wales

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow

Whether it’s your back garden, local park, community field or lawn, wildflower meadows are amazing spaces with so much to offer.

The Wildlife in our Meadows
Duke of Burgundy butterfly on cowslip.

The Wildlife in our Meadows

From bumblebees to birds and moths to mammals – meadows are micro-cities of wildlife. Here's what to spot in your wildflower meadow.

How volunteers care for Three Hagges

Volunteers have been helping to care for the woodmeadow for over 10 years. The group was founded by residents in surrounding villages joining forces to turn a 10ha arable field into the Three Hagges nature reserve that we know and love today.  

We meet every Tuesday morning, rain, shine, or snow, and we do a range of practical conservation tasks to keep the woodmeadow a pleasant place for visitors and a thriving habitat for wildlife.  

Tasks change from season to season but include: 

  • Growing flowers and trees from seed in our bespoke polytunnel 
  • Planting wildflower plug plants and trees
  • Collecting seed 
  • Maintaining paths, benches and interpretation boards within the woodmeadow 

This winter we are coppicing areas of Hazel and we will use the material to create dead hedges throughout the site. Last year we used the hazel to create a woven story-telling den which was great fun. 

There’s always a long list of jobs to do so we never run out of tasks! 

Get involved with protecting nature

We’re lucky to have a wonderful network of volunteers who help survey and record the different species here. Volunteers regularly do moth trapping, as well as bumblebee, bird, reptile and plant surveys. This helps to understand the biodiversity this special place supports. 

The woodmeadow is incredibly diverse – you may be lucky enough to come across a basking Grass Snake or see a Buzzard circling overhead as you explore Three Hagges and the pond is teeming with dragonflies and damselflies in the summer. 

We can even keep track of weather conditions and water levels on site too through our recently installed weather station. None of this monitoring would be possible without the expertise and dedication of our survey volunteers. 

The magic of Three Hagges Woodmeadow

The whole of Three Hagges Woodmeadow is incredibly special. There are surprises around every corner to enjoy, such as a bee hotel, Crombie Roundhouse (a traditional shelter made of materials found in the wood) and wildlife pond.  

I love how the site changes throughout the seasons. In spring, the meadows and woodland are coming alive, with early spring flowers. Looking closely in the woodlands you can spot Violets, Wood Anemone and Stitchwort.  

As summer moves closer, the wildflower meadows burst with colour and are truly breathtaking as a sea of purples and yellows take hold with species like Field Scabious, Common Knapweed and Bird’s-foot Trefoil. 

Volunteering at Three Hagges

Without the volunteers, Three Hagges Woodmeadow would simply not exist. Volunteers have worked tirelessly growing hundreds of wildflowers a year so that the meadow is bursting with colour, and cutting back vegetation from benches and interpretation boards so that the site can be enjoyed by visitors.  

I would be completely lost without my team of volunteers – I couldn’t enhance and maintain Three Hagges on my own.

The volunteers are the heart and soul of the woodmeadow and they turn up, whatever the weather, to work hard, laugh hard and go home tired and happy. 

Where we work

The Cairngorms is characterised by two rare habitat types – the pinewoods and the high mountaintop plateau (habitat consistently above 650m). These are the main areas we work on, alongside upland species rich meadows and grassland fungi sites. 

The Cairngorms is a beautiful and varied landscape, from rough river floodplains, giving way to woodlands, moorlands and mountains.  

Above 1000m the flora becomes very different from what we are familiar with in the rest of the UK, with mosses, liverworts, hardy sedges and grasses, and dwarf woody plants no higher than your ankles clinging to rocks. It is closer to arctic communities than our lowlands.

How volunteers safeguard rare plants

We are lucky to have an amazing team of volunteers who support our work on rare pinewood flower species, as well as helping to identify and conserve species from meadows to mountaintops. 

In the pinewoods…

We focused on translocation of the pinewood species Twinflower Linnaea borealis cuttings between sites as we know remaining patches are declining due to lack of cross-pollination. Volunteers helped collect the cuttings, grew them on in their gardens, and helped plant them out at the new sites. 

Our other pinewood species, One-flowered Wintergreen Moneses uniflora, is poorly understood, and most of our work has focused on learning about causes of their decline and what we can do about it. 

From meadows to mountains…

In partnership with the James Hutton Institute, intrepid mountain climbing volunteers collected soil samples for eDNA analysis from Munro’s across the Cairngorms. This helped us discover more about the fungi that lie beneath the surface, doubling the total recorded mountaintop fungi for Scotland in one survey. 

In the meadows, Pastures for Life helped establish a grazing trial of a new conservation grazing technique called mob grazing in Strathspey. Volunteers put in hundreds of hours surveying over 250 quadrats at our trial farms each year, so we can understand more about the impact of this technique on wild plants and fungi. 

Volunteer Story: Saving Twinflower

In June 2023, volunteers mobilised quickly for emergency watering of Twinflower cuttings. The weather in May was perfect and we started the first round of planting out, putting ~550 cuttings into the ground. 

Immediately following this, June was startlingly dry and hot. We were panicking that our hard work would be wasted, with every cutting perishing in the unusually dry conditions. Freshly planted cuttings are especially susceptible to drought, as their roots haven’t yet established.  

Volunteers spent the month of June collecting water from burns and hiking up hills and across rough terrain laden with bottles just to sprinkle it over our plots and repeat the process again a few days later. I am so grateful to those that helped, and comforted to know we gave our Twinflower cuttings the best chance we could. 

Opportunities to volunteer

Volunteers have always been key to this project and are involved in all sorts of activities with us here in the Cairngorms. They can be attending a training course one week, surveying meadows the following week, pulling out invasive Rhododendron, and even taking care of rare plants at home. 

You don’t have to be a botanist to get involved with Plantlife. We’ve had help from school children, students, mountain climbers, and all sorts of folks who know very little about plants or nature. 

All you need to volunteer with us is a passion to learn new things and a drive to get involved and help out. 

  • Go to:

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re up for doing something to help wild plants. In fact, there’s an excellent chance that you already have – perhaps you have taken part in No Mow May, or have adopted an NPMS square? 

Whatever you have done, thank you! Your help is hugely appreciated. Now I’m going to ask you to do something else, something not quite as fun as putting on your wellies and getting out into nature – but something which could be even more powerful. 

What is happening?

Scotland Munsary Pools

The Scottish Government is consulting on a new Strategic Framework for Biodiversity. It’s a set of policies and priorities, and it’s the building blocks of a new law (a Natural Environment Bill). The government is looking for feedback on this framework to help them come up with a final version.

If lots of people respond to a consultation, all saying broadly the same thing, the chances are that the thing will get taken seriously. Our thing is wild plants, and we need your help to get wild plants taken seriously and embedded into the heart of this new strategy. 

How to get involved

We don’t often ask you to respond to consultations, but we’re asking you to respond to this one for two reasons. 

Firstly, this consultation is a big deal – opportunities to influence government thinking on biodiversity don’t come round very often. Plantlife Scotland, along with many other conservation organisations, has been calling for something like this for a long time.  

Secondly, wild plants in Scotland need all the help they can get.

The recent State of Nature report showed that, since 1970, nearly half of Scotland’s flowering plants, 62% of bryophytes and 57% of lichen species have been lost from areas where they used to be found. We need action now. 

How to respond

The consultation is big, and it can seem pretty confusing. Don’t be overwhelmed. You don’t have to answer all the questions. In fact, if the consultation hub doesn’t work for you, you can just send an email – it will still be read. 

Here are some ideas which you could use to help write your response:

1.  We need a programme of ecosystem restoration. We can’t just protect the last remaining scraps of nature we have left. We need to give nature the space to recover and expand, in order for it to be resilient. We think that Scotland’s rainforest, and our species-rich grasslands, are priority ecosystems which need urgent help.

2.  We need a programme of species recovery. Some of our plant species are in such a fragile state that they need targeted action to help them. Clear actions must be set out within the strategy to help recover threatened species.

3.  We need legally-binding targets for nature. If we don’t set targets, governments can’t be held to account, and there is little incentive for decision-makers to take action to halt the loss of nature. We need targets for species abundance and distribution, and for protected areas to be in good condition. 

4.  We need an effective plan to protect 30% of Scotland’s land for nature by 2030. Government has committed to delivering this, but at the moment there is little detail on how it will be achieved. We need to take the opportunity to create vibrant networks of recovering ecosystems with the space to allow species to thrive and move.

5.  We need a clear and specific funding plan for delivery. Restoring nature won’t be cheap, but neither will dealing with the fall-out from collapsing ecosystems. Investing in nature, and in all the benefits it provides for us, is always cost effective.

 

If you do get a chance to respond to the consultation, thank you! It really will help – every voice makes a difference. And once you’re finished, remember to do something nice to reward yourself. Maybe get outdoors, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself how amazing nature is. And know that you have helped in the fight to save it. 

Our work in Scotland

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals
Wildflowers growing in a meadow with cattle behind

Sustainable farming needs government support, report reveals

As governments continue to undervalue grasslands, Plantlife is calling on policymakers to help farmers make sustainable choices. 

Save Coul Links

Save Coul Links

The Conservation Coalition urge Ministers to step in and save Coul Links as Highland Council votes to grant permission for the golf course.

Government Action for Temperate Rainforests 

Government Action for Temperate Rainforests 

Discover how Plantlife is working with governments to protect and restore temperate rainforest along the Atlantic coast of Britain.

Restore Nature Now: Take Action for Wild Plants and Climate

On 28 September, join Plantlife as we stand united alongside communities, world-leading experts and charities to ask our elected representatives, current and aspiring, to restore nature now.

Twinflower on the woodland floor with sunshine behind

Humans have put the planet on a path to a warmer world and now face urgent and interlinked climate and biodiversity crisis.

It is critical that world leaders strengthen not weaken green pledges and display meaningful climate leadership.

Healthy wild plants, fungi & other wildlife species and habitats provide essential solutions to the climate crisis and increasing resilience.

With 2/5 of the world’s wild plants at risk of extinction and only 3% of UK wildflower meadows surviving compared to 100 years ago, Plantlife are calling for ambitious action now.

Join us in speaking up for wild plants and climate

On 28 September, join Plantlife as we ask our elected representatives, current and aspiring, to restore nature now.

We come together united alongside nature lovers, environmental groups, No Mow May-ers, young people, change-makers and world-leading experts to push for ambitious action for climate and nature.

MEET : Defra Seacole Building, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF (entrance Great Peter Street)

TIME : 28 September 8am-2pm

NEED TO KNOW : We will be celebrating the wild places and species we love; people, placards, flags, colour, costumes, speeches and music at the place where our united voice needs to be heard.

More events

Online Talk: Wildflowers in your Lawn (No Mow May)
wildflower lawn

Members Early Access

Online Talk: Wildflowers in your Lawn (No Mow May)

Tue, 7 May 2024
19:00 – 20:00
Online | free

In this talk you can find out what is growing among the grass on your lawns. How to introduce more native plant species to your garden.

Online Talk: Plant Paparazzi – Botanical Photography for Beginners
Leif Bersweden taking a photo of a wild plant whilst lying on the floor

Members only

Online Talk: Plant Paparazzi – Botanical Photography for Beginners

Mon, 29 Apr 2024
19:00 – 20:00
Online | free

This session will help you focus on your forget-me-nots and frame those foxgloves with botanist and author Leif Bersweden.

Past events

Online Talk: Becoming ‘Familiar’ with Botany: Exploring 5 Plant Families
A hand holding a wild plant

Members only

Online Talk: Becoming 'Familiar' with Botany: Exploring 5 Plant Families

Mon, 25 Mar 2024
19:00 – 20:00
Online | free

If you've learned the parts of a plant, the next step in your wildflower identification journey is to explore some common plant families. Join Sarah and Sam in looking at the features of 5 plant families.

These days it seems there is an app for everything, including finding out what creature critter or plant you are looking at. But are they useful? Are they accurate?

We tested 10 popular apps out on the field to put them through their paces, and picked 3 of our favourites. We looked at ease of use, accuracy, costs involved and what additional features they have.

flora incognita logo

Flora Incognita

Our favourite app from the ones tested, this is free to download with no intrusive adverts or other costs involved.

The aim of the Flora Incognita research project is mapping plants, therefore they record and use the location of where the plants are found.

That means using this app is not only beneficial to your learning, but also makes an important contribution to biodiviersity monitoring and research.

This app combines traditional plant identification with the latest methods of AI. To identify, simply click on the plus symbol which takes you through your options.

Ease of use 5/5
Identification skills 4/5
Range of features 4/5

Download

picture this logo

Picture This

Claiming to be ‘the botanist in your pocket’, this app uses advanced artificial intelligence and was accurate for a wide range of species, from Sea Thrift to trickier species such as Mouse-ear Hawkweed.

Advertised as £24.99 a year, you can use the app indefinitely to identify plants without paying: when you open the app you come to a pre-home screen where you click cancel.

Other benefits include the app’s ability to identify common grasses, sedges and fungi – but we recommend some caution with these due to the cryptic nature of IDing these species. Picture This also has common questions and answers for each plant, along with stories and other interesting facts such as flowering times.

Ease of use 5/5
Identification skills 4/5
Range of features 4/5

Download

inaturalist logo

iNaturalist (and Seek)

iNaturalist was created with the aims of recording your observations and sharing them with the ability to crowdsource identifications. The app is free and has a range of handy features that make uploading a breeze, including an automatic location based on the photos’ GPS tag, and the ability to record other wildlife such as insects and birds.

We found the app very accurate to a plant’s genus, a group of similar species, and sometimes even down to the specific species when multiple photos are added. This makes it the perfect tool for you to take your plant ID knowledge further with a field guide.

Seek is a simpler version of iNaturalist with an easier interface for the family. We found Seek had less accuracy in the field, so if you’re looking for something more thorough, we recommend downloading iNaturalist.

Ease of use 5/5
Identification skill 5/5
Range of features 4/5

Download

 

Tips on using your phone to identify wild plants

  • There are ways to use your phones built in search assistants, however as they’re not purpose built for plants the results aren’t as accurate, unless they are obvious looking species.
  • We strongly advise you to only use plant ID apps as training tools rather than solely for identification. You could use the app to narrow your identification to a genus, then use your favourite plant guidebook.
  • From a health and safety note, the plant apps drained our phone charge extremely quickly therefore ensure you bring a portable phone charger to contact people if required.
Juniper on the Peaks: A Foot High Forest 

Juniper on the Peaks: A Foot High Forest 

Discover the gnarled woodlands on the wildest peaks in Wales, as Robbie Blackhall-Miles reveals the secrets of Eryri’s miniature but magical Juniper forests.

Why the Wild Leek is a Symbol of Wales

Why the Wild Leek is a Symbol of Wales

The Wild Leek has been a symbol of Wales for so long that its stories date back to St David himself.

COP28: Why Food and Farming Matters
Small square hay bailer in field

COP28: Why Food and Farming Matters

One of the most important discussions at COP28 is about – food and agriculture. Find out why they are so important for global governments.

Nature reserves aren’t just a thriving space for biodiversity, they’re a place to explore, an area which is scientifically proven to improve our well-being, and a magical experience to make memories.

Here are 5 ideas for you to add to your summer staycation mood board. Pack your picnic blanket and sensible shoes – it’s time to get out and explore!

Augill pasture view

Enjoy history and a hike in the North Pennines

Augill Pasture, North Pennines AONB

Discover a purple sea of Devil’s-bit Scabious at this mountain hay meadow in late summer on the edge of the Pennines. For the more adventurous among you, why not follow the steep path where you can discover an old lead smelt mill that dates from 1843?

Star summer species to look out for: Globeflower Trollius europaeus, Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea (June), Greater Butterly-orchid Platanthera chlorantha (June) and Devil’s-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis (August)

Location: near Brough, Cumbria (OS: NY 816146, ///tinkle.resist.dictation)

Mountain pansies in grass

Discover Mountain Pansies on the peaks

Deep Dale, Peak District National Park

If you’re looking for a rainbow of wildflower colour to be the backdrop to this years staycation, this is the spot for you. Look out for delicate Mountain Pansy on our walking route, which passes through spectacular limestone scenery with an exceptional wealth of flowers. Along the way is the picturesque village of Sheldon which is a good lunch stop, before discovering ancient woodlands to explore.

Star summer species to look out for: Mountain pansy Viola lutea (May-July) and Grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris (July-Oct)

Location: Sheldon, Derbyshire. (OS: SK 165 698, ///announced.hangs.paradise)

Follow our walking route here.

Volunteers counting orchids at Caeau Tan y Bwlch nature reserve

Find Butterfly Orchids in Wales

Caeau Tan y Bwlch, Llyn Peninsula

In English, Caeau Tan y Bwlch means ‘the fields below the mountain pass’, and you’ll get spectacular views of the Eryri National Park which won’t disappoint. The reserve is a nature lovers paradise, with an array of different habitats, from meadows to bogs, which are home to Butterfly Orchids and other rare plants. Perfect for anyone looking for a wild weekend in north Wales!

Star summer species to look out for: Greater Butterfly-orchid Platanthera chlorantha (Jun-Jul), Intermediate Lady’s Mantle Alchemilla xanthochlora (Jun-Sept)

Location: Capel Uchaf, near Clynnog Fawr, Gwynedd (OS: SH 431488, ///lotteries.dusted.birthdays)

Go on a butterfly walk on the Cornish coast

Greena Moor, Cornwall

During the summer Greena Moor is a hot spot for butterflies such as the Marsh Fritillary, which are drawn by the purple pom-poms of Devil’s-bit Scabious on the reserve. As well as being one of the best remaining examples of the rare Culm grassland habitat, this idyllic reserve is perfect for a tranquil wander due to its isolated location just off the Cornish coast.

Star summer species to look out for: Meadow Thistle Cirsium dissectum (June-Aug) and Whorled Caraway Carum verticillatum (July-Aug)

Location: Week St. Mary, Cornwall (OS: SX 234963, ///wobbles.cats.digs)

Follow our wildflower walk.

Great Burnet growing at Seaton Meadows

Step back in time at Seaton Meadows in Rutland

Seaton Meadows, Rutland

Seaton Meadows is steeped in history dating back to medieval times, and the perfect spot for an afternoon walk alongside the dramatic purple spikes of Great Burnet, framed by the arches of the impressive Welland Railway Viaduct. Throughout the summer you can step back in time and watch as the meadow is managed in traditional methods that haven’t changed in centuries.

Star summer species to look out for: Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis (June-July) and Common Meadow-rue Thalictrum flavum (July)

Location: Near Harringworth, Rutland (OS: SP 913979, ///shun.theme.retailing)

A green and wild temperate rainforest in Scotland

Explore enchanted rainforests in Scotland

Barnluasgan, West Coast of Scotland

Did you know we had rainforest in the UK? Barnluasgan is where lochside meets these rare and wild temperate rainforests. Look out for lichens, mosses and liverworts; tiny plants that make Scotland’s rainforest internationally important. But be careful, don’t stray too far off the path, as Ghillie dhu, forest sprites restricted to the west coast forests of Scotland, protect these ancient woodlands fiercely!

Star summer species to look out for: Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum (June-Septemer) and Tree Lungwort Lobaria pulmonaria

Location: Lochgilphead PA31 8PF

Follow our walk which takes you through these magical rainforests.

 

When visiting nature reserves and other green spaces, don’t forget to follow the countryside code to protect these special places.

How to Start a Community Meadow?

How to Start a Community Meadow?

Want to start a community meadow, but not sure where to begin? Read our guide to creating a flower-filled haven for your local community.

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow
Wildflower meadow landscape with a variety of species near Cardiff, Wales

How to Grow a Wildflower Meadow

Whether it’s your back garden, local park, community field or lawn, wildflower meadows are amazing spaces with so much to offer.

The Wildlife in our Meadows
Duke of Burgundy butterfly on cowslip.

The Wildlife in our Meadows

From bumblebees to birds and moths to mammals – meadows are micro-cities of wildlife. Here's what to spot in your wildflower meadow.

Species on the Edge
North Coast Launch

Come and join us for the launch of a project to save Scotland’s most beautiful and most vulnerable species

Sunday 21 May 2023
11am – 2pm
Dunnet Community Forest

Pink purplish Scottish Primrose flowers in a field of grass

The north coast is home to some of Scotland’s most beautiful and most vulnerable species.
Together, we can help protect them.

Learn more. Drop in to find out about the Species on the Edge four-year programme of conservation activities on the north coast, including how you can contribute to increasing biodiversity in our area.

Come and try. Have a go at surveying potential sites to help us identify the best location to create a butterfly bank. Support will be provided – no experience necessary.

Cake provided. Bring your own picnic or packed lunch. We will supply hot drinks and cake.

Everyone welcome. Craft activities and a nature hunt will be available for children, who must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information about the event, or if you would like to know more about volunteering with us or the Species on the Edge programme of work, but can’t come on the day, contact louise.senior@plantlife.org.uk