Somerset Nature Reserves
Spring is finally under way!
Now the days are longer, there is even more time to connect to Somerset’s wonderful wildlife and inspiring landscapes and reserves. From listening out for birdsong, catching a glimpse of a fluttering butterflies or spotting wildflowers, there is plenty to see at this time of year and some really special places to explore.
Which Reserves to visit this Spring
Long Wood, Black Rock and Velvet Bottom are all part of our Cheddar Complex:
Long Wood, one of our oldest nature reserves, filled with ancient, semi-natural woodland dating back to the 13th century and is a particularly great walk during Spring as Bluebells will have bloomed and make a striking contrast against the Wild Garlic
Black Rock is great for exploring rocky outcrops, as well as it’s flower rich limestone grassland. Wherever you go you won’t escape its intriguing industrial heritage.
Velvet Bottom lies on the floor of a dry river valley, and is filled with rough grassland and pockets of woodland and scrub. Walking through you will see lots of evidence of its lead mining history, and will easily be able to extend your visit to Ubley Warren reserve which is home to a wide variety of butterfly species.
Listen out for the chirps and tweets of the arrival of millions of summer visitors. Chiff chaff and Willow Warbler, two songsters heard throughout the county. They will be joined by Blackcap, Garden warbler and Whitethroat. In the reedbeds Reed and Sedge Warblers will join the resident Cetti's Warbler.
Look out for Butterflies emerging. Orange tip, Peacock, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Comma will be seen on sunny days, and soon the early dragonfly species will join them. The dragonfly nymphs that have wintered underwater will climb a reed stem, breaking out of their exuvial casing, and spread their wings to dry. May is the best time to see most dragonflies emerging.
Take a moment to take in the beauty around you, Lesser Celandine, Wood Anemone, Primrose and Cowslips will appear in woods and meadows. Flowering Bluebells will peak by the end of April, along with other flowering woodland plants.
Here’re a few things you can do at home to help wildlife this Spring
Spring is when wildlife bursts into action and garden birds will need a little extra help to get through the breeding season. To find an extensive range of feeders and food for our garden friends, please visit Vinehouse Farm – who will give you 10% off your first order, plus up to 5% of every sale goes to us to support our work.
If you use birdfeeders, it is really important to make sure you keep your feeders clean to ensure disease doesn’t spread– have a look here on how to do this.
You might also like to build or set up a bird box in your garden to give breeding birds a home. Here’s how!
Also, the warmer weather is a great opportunity to start gardening for wildlife, such as by creating a wild patch or learning which flowers are best for attracting pollinators. Learn more here.
Image credits: Jeff Bevan, Amy Lewis, The Wildlife Trusts.