Somerset Nature Reserves
Summer is here and there's so many amazing places for you to explore!
Discover a world of wildflowers, captivating butterflies, and dazzling dragonflies this Summer at our nature reserves.
Which Reserves to visit this Summer
Discover the Blackdowns:
Bishopswood Meadows offers species-rich limestone and marshy meadows near the River Yarty. You can spot the Marbled White Butterfly there– best seen from June to August – as well as the Silver-washed Fritillary.
Explore the Mendip Hills:
Draycott Sleights is home to the Chalkhill Blue Butterfly, best seen in July, and also the Small Blue Butterfly seen in June. Skylarks and Meadow Pipits are commonly seen there this time of year in the open grassland.
A visit to Edford Meadows' traditional hay meadows reveals more than 90 different flowering plants, including orchids such as common spotted, green winged, heath spotted, and southern marsh orchid, which are at their best in June. (The hay cut takes place at the end of July so be sure to visit before then).
Enjoy the Avalon Marshes:
When visiting Westhay, look out for dragonflies and damselflies glistening in the reeds and exotic insectivorous sundew plants spread across the lush wetlands. You may be lucky to see an Adder basking in the sunshine on the Purple moor grass in the acid mire
Catcott is a great place to see the special plant Devil’s Bit Scabious, which flowers from June to October and attracts 12 different species of bumblebee. Listen out for the chirps of the Grasshopper Warbler, which give it its name.
Listen out for...
The distinctive drumming of the green woodpecker, the chiffchaff sound from which the bird takes its name, and other warblers including blackcaps and whitethroats.
Look out for...
Butterflies such as Common Blues, Marbled Whites and Small Heaths on our East Poldens grassland reserves such as Gilling Down, New Hill, Tannager and Dundon Beacon
Take a moment to...
Have a mindful moment in a wildflower meadow. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the natural world around you, and take a relaxing moment for yourself.
To find out more about what species to see this month, take a look at Chris Chappell's blog here
Here’re a few things you can do at home to help wildlife this Summer...
Look after garden birds: Birds moult in late August. They use lots of energy regrowing feathers so still need (preferably high energy) food put out for them in gardens (away from potential predators). Hard fats such as suet fare better in the sun. For advice on what to feed our much loved garden birds, take a look at Vinehouse Farm’s webpage
Wildlife Friendly Gardening: Leave a section of long grass in your lawn, as this will encourage more insects for birds to snack on, so you’re likely to see more of our feathered friends pay a visit. Also by planting flowers/wildflowers with high pollen and nectar this will be a great for our bees.
Keep wildlife cool: Ensure you keep birdbaths and ponds topped up – birds and other species need a readily available water source in hot weather. By pouring some water in a shady spot at dusk, worms will be encouraged to the surface, and will supply birds, badgers and other wildlife with food.
Image credits: Paul Eaton, Becky Walters