Wild Time


Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries



Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties



Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi



Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Lounge with a lizard

Sand lizard © Steve Davis

Soak up the sun with snakes and lizards.

Our six native land reptiles are an underappreciated and yet very diverse bunch.

Three lizards and three snakes, Britain’s reptiles can be found from the far north of Scotland to the south coast of England, from highland moors to lowland heaths, sand dunes to garden ponds.Our most famous, or should that be infamous reptile is the adder, our only venomous snake. Adders are quite a bit smaller than most people imagine, rarely reaching more than 50cm long. They are animals of moorland, heaths and rough grassland where they can sometimes be seen sunbathing in groups early in the year as they emerge from their hibernacula. In the spring, males engage in the famous ‘dance of the adders’ as they raise up and twine around each other, ritually wrestling in the hopes of winning the favours of a female.You are much more likely to spot a grass snake. These are the largest of our reptiles, sometimes reaching up to a metre in length. Grass snakes’ favourite food is a tasty frog, and they are great swimmers, most often found in wetland habitats and with a particular penchant for garden ponds.

Our three lizards include the common lizard, our most widespread reptile and the only reptile native to Ireland; the beautiful slow worm, a legless lizard who spends most of his time underground feeding on slugs and worms; and the brightly coloured sand lizard, a real rarity of southern heaths and sand dunes on the Merseyside coast. Another southern rarity is the shy smooth snake, now restricted to the heathlands of the New Forest, Dorset and Surrey.

How to do it

All our reptiles are sun-worshippers. Find a south-facing slope, with patches of bare ground that warm up quickly next to areas of cover into which the animal can flee if disturbed, and you have the perfect reptile spotting spot. Your first sighting of a reptile is likely to be a quick glimpse of a tail disappearing into the undergrowth. But don’t despair. Individual snakes and lizards tend to have favourite sun-bathing spots, so if you sit still and wait they may well soon reappear. 

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…Make your garden reptile-friendly. Wildlife ponds attract frogs, which in turn provide food for grass snakes, while compost heaps and log piles can be great places for both grass snakes and slow worms.

Special spots

Higher Hyde Heath in Dorset is home to all six native land reptiles, as well as Dartford warbler, nightjar and silver-studded blue, all making their homes on an internationally important heathland site. 

Berkshire, Greenham and Crookham Commons

Berkshire, Widmoor Heath

Berkshire, Snelsmore Common 

Cambridgeshire, Fulbourn Fen 

Cornwall, Upton Towans 

Cornwall, Chun Downs 

Devon, Bovey Heathfield

Devon, Stapleton Mire

Devon, Rackenford and Knowstone Moor 

Dorset, Tadnoll and Winfrith

Essex, Two Tree Island

Essex, Stanford Warren 

Glamorgan, Parc Slip

Kent, Sandwich and Pegwell Bay 

Kent, Reculver and Country Park 

Lancashire, Freshfield Dune Heath

Norfolk, Roydon Common and Grimston Warren

Northumberland, Holystone Burn

Northumberland, Annstead Dunes

Northumberland, Whitelee Moor 

Northumberland, Fords Moss 

Northumberland, Harbottle Crags

Powys, Abercamlo Bog

Suffolk, Blaxhall Common

Suffolk, Dunwich Forest

Suffolk, Sutton and Hollesley Commons

Surrey, Oakham and Wisley Commons

Surrey, Chobham Common

Surrey, Rodborough Common 

Yorkshire, Potteric Carr

Yorkshire, Allerthorpe Common

Yorkshire, Strensall Common

Yorkshire, Fen Bog

Grass snake © Jamie Hall