Happy Friday everyone! Extremely excited to announce five new nature day trips where we can finally get back to enjoying wildlife in the field! I’ll be working with Naturetrek to deliver a range of trips looking at wetland birds, limestone flowers and meadow butterflies.
Spaces are limited and they are booking up fast, so grab you space today while you can!
Explore one of the most diverse areas of South Yorkshire – the waterways, woodland and meadows of the Dearne Valley. We will walk through the magnesium-limestone grasslands on the lookout for Pyramidal and Bee Orchids as well as hopefully seeing the elusive Six-belted Clearwing moth which only comes to pheromone lures. We will then head down to the River Don to look for species such as Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and, with luck, Bittern. Other highlights include Brown Hare, Grass Snake, Spindle trees, Ruddy Darter dragonflies and Sanicle flowers.
Smardale Gill, South Cumbria
We’ll walk along Smardale Gill, a beautiful landscape where industry, heritage and nature merge perfectly. This nature reserve is designated a SSSI due to the diversity of rare species that can be found here. During our walk we will follow the old rail line through a gentle incline as we take in open grasslands with botanical treats such as Grass-of-Parnassus, Greater Butterfly Orchid and Bloody Cranesbill. We will also be keeping an eye out for Red Kites, Northern Brown Argus and Scotch Argus. Further up the trail in the woodland, we have a chance of spotting the UK’s native squirrel – the Red Squirrel. Within these woods are also Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Common Lizards. The walk includes a gentle elevation throughout. You can expect to walk between 6-8 miles with plenty of stopping places.
Formby and the Sefton Coast
We’ll explore one of the hidden gems of the north – the Sefton coast. This coastal zone includes an array of different habitats including the largest sand dune system in England, marshes and coniferous woodland. As we walk through historical asparagus fields of Formby, we will be on the lookout for some of Britain’s rarest creatures such as the Red Squirrel and Sand Lizard. Pyramidal Orchids, Seaside Centaury and the nationally scarce Portland Spurge are joined by the elusive Dune Helleborine. If you are interested in invertebrates, there are also rare species to find here such as the Northern Brown Tiger Beetle. After a walk through the dunes we will head to RSPB Marshside where Brown Hares mix with Avocets and Shelduck. The walking routes are largely flat with some inclines in the sand dunes with sand making the going a little tougher. Expect to walk between 6-8 miles with plenty of breaks throughout.
Featuring stunning views of southern Cumbria, the Kent Estuary and the idyllic town of Arnside below, Arnside Knott, offers a brilliant range of habitats and wildlife. Out in the open grassland, we’ll look for flowers such as Goldilocks Buttercup, Betony and Lesser Butterfly Orchid. The site is also a stronghold for butterflies, with Pearl-bordered Fritillary, the rare High Brown Fritillary and Purple Hairstreak all present. Other highlights include Slow Worms and Wall Brown. The site is undulating with a circular walk of between 6 and 8 miles. If we have time we will move the cars and visit either Foulshaw Moss where the rare White-faced Darter dragonfly and Osprey can be found or Warton Crag where Peregrine Falcons roost.