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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.

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Wildflower meadow landscape with a variety of species near Cardiff, Wales

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

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