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If you’re looking for a wilder summer holiday for you and your family, here’s some inspiration for natural beauty spots around the UK where you can discover the breathtaking nature on our doorsteps.
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!
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
Discover how you can identify the mosses where you live, and read about Lizzie's challenge to learn 10 mosses!
Learn about why our Munsary Peatlands reserve is being put forward for inscription as the world’s first peatland UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plantlife’s Artist in Residence, shares her summer journey across our reserves and some top tips for aspiring botanical artists.
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