Something to explore every season
Visit one of our amazing nature reserves, and experience the wonder of Somerset's wildlife and wild places.
With over 1,700 hectares of nature reserves to explore, Somerset Wildlife Trust can offer something for everyone through the seasons. Go for a stroll through crisp autumnal woodlands, enjoy the blooming gorgeous displays of spring flowers, listen for the dawn booming of Bitterns on our wetlands or watch the flitting butterflies and bees dancing at our magnificent meadow reserves.
After a long, dark winter, celebrate the arrival of spring with a walk through a Somerset Wildlife Trust woodland to enjoy displays of spring flowers such as bluebells, primroses and wood anemones, accompanied by birdsong.
Best bluebell woods
Bluebells are widespread in Spring and are perhaps one of the most famous and unmistakeable woodland flowers. One of the best reserves to view these beautiful little flowers is Long Wood, part of our Cheddar Complex reserve. Another reserve that is a good place to spot Bluebells is Harridge Wood reserve, as well as Kings Castle Wood, find out more below.
Many of our reserves are a wonderful place to listen to spring birdsong, but a few ones worth mentioning include: the wonderful Catcott Lows and Westhay Moor NNR reserves both boast a range of birds that you will hear throughout Spring. However, don't forget reserves such as Green Down and Velvet Bottom for equally pleasant spring birdsong.
A range of birds migrate to the UK in the spring to breed, including the Chiffchaff, Swallow and Swift, and there are also varying places to spot them. Velvet Bottom is a great place to see Wheatear and Chiffchaff, Cooks Field is a great place to see Swallows and New Hill & Tannager is good for Blackcap and Whitethroat!
What better way to enjoy a summer's day than in an ancient meadow full of wild flowers and shimmering butterflies, with the soundtrack of crickets and grasshoppers, humming bees and the song of skylarks?
Where to see orchids
Orchids are a diverse and widespread family of flowers with often colourful and fragrant blooms. Yarley Fields and Draycott Sleights are particular spots for the exotic looking Bee Orchids whilst Thurlbear Wood is a good place to see the striking Greater Butterfly Orchid and the Common Spotted Orchid.
Dragonflies and damselflies
Swifts, swallows and housemartins
A common sight on a summers evening, there are a few particular spots to visit to see these little birds. Cooks Field is a lovely place to see Swallows soaring about, whilst Hollow Marsh Meadow also provides a good viewing spot.
Large Blue butterfly
The Large Blue Butterfly is a stunning insect that was reintroduced in the 1980's and small populations are now surviving in the South of England. Our Green Down reserve is home to one of conservation’s great success stories with the biggest number of large blue butterflies, anywhere in the world.
You will find some of the most stunning displays of autumn colour on Somerset Wildlife Trust nature reserves. Look more closely and you will also see hundreds of varieties of fascinating fungi from the Scarlet Elf Cup and colourful waxcaps to King Alfred's Cakes.
Woodland walks full of colour
Nothing beats a walk through a beautiful woodland in Autumn when the leaves have begun to crisp and fall to the ground. If this sounds like a good afternoon well spent, then why not head to Aller and Beer Woods, part of an SSSI, Harridge Woods, or Great Breach Wood.
Fungi are interesting and exciting and can be found in a number of our reserves across the county. A stunning reserve that has had over 600 species of fungi recorded is Great Breach Wood, or take a trip to our second largest reserve, Langford Heathfield and see if you can spot the Fly Agaric Fungus. Lynchcombe is also an option to look for Waxcap Fungi.
On a crisp winter's day, wrap up warm and head to a Somerset Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Some of our wetland sites are host to impressive numbers of overwintering birds!
Get more information by reading our 'Wildlife to see' blog by local photographer and wildlife enthusiast, Chris Chappell.
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