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

Ramble through a purple haze

Ling heather © Amy Lewis

Our heaths and moors are at their most colourful.

There is surely no better time to head for the hills and experience this great purple-tinged spectacle

Found in parts of Devon and Cornwall, northern England and the uplands of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the ‘blasted moors’ are often thought of as windswept, bleak and foreboding, an iconic moorland landscape full of drama and intrigue, home to the hound of the Baskervilles, Heathcliff and Cathy and Hogwarts.

Dramatic and intriguing they certainly are, but as the heather bursts into flower at the end of the summer, the moors become a blazing carpet of purple for as far as the eye can see, a-buzz with bees and the chuckling of red grouse and haunting cries of curlew. There is surely no better time to head for the hills and experience this great purple-tinged spectacle.

Our moorlands are of international importance. Around 70% of the world’s moors and upland heaths are in the UK, and we have a special responsibility to conserve and protect these habitats.

How to do it

Head up: moorland is only found in the uplands.  Most moorland is open access land, so you are free to wander, but it’s best to stick to well used paths, as the weather up here can change quickly and in such big landscapes it’s easy to get lost.  And keep your dog on a lead. It can be tempting to let her run free, but the moors are home to ground nesting birds and grazing animals, neither of which take well to the attentions of an over-excited pooch.

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… It’s not only the uplands that become awash with purple in the autumn.  The lowland heaths of southern England and south Wales are also at their brightest right now, with the purple of the heather showing off at is best alongside the golden yellow of gorse and ling.  For a different purple joy seek the extraordinary sight of thousands of autumn crocus – Herefordshire (eg Leeping Stocks) Worcestershire and Montgomeryshire (eg Llanmerewig Glebe) have beautiful havens for this exquisite and poisonous plant. It is also known as meadow saffron and is a native of damp meadows and woodland rides/clearings. The flowers, which appear in the autumn, resemble pink crocuses, but are in fact colchicums and not related to true crocuses. The leaves appear in the spring and can be confused with wild garlic (ramsons), a potentially lethal mistake.

Special spots

Ben Mor Coigach dominates the landscape north of Ullapool. Covering over 5,000 hectares, it is the Scottish Wildlife Trust's largest reserve and combines a mixture of high peaks and magnificent coastline with crofted and wild land.

Ayrshire, Dalmellington Moss

Cornwall, Priddacombe Downs

Cumbria, Eycott Hill and Butterburn Flow

Denbighshire, Gors Maen Llwyd

Derbyshire, Ladybower Wood and Brockholes Wood

Devon, Rackenford and Knowstone Moor

Devon, Bellever Moor and Meadow

Devon, Dart Valley

Durham, Hedleyhope Fell,

Gwynedd, Traeth Glaslyn

Highland, Rahoy Hills

Highland, Isle of Eigg

Midlothian, Red Moss of Balerno

Montgomeryshire, Glaslyn Nature Reserve

Northumberland, Falstone Moss

Northumberland, Harbottle Crags and Whitelee Moor

Powys. Bugeilyn

Powys, Cnwch Bank

Powys, Mynydd Ffoesidoes

Sheffield, Blackamoor

Shropshire, Nipstone Rock

Staffordshire, Black Brook, and The Roaches

Yorkshire, Fen Bog

View to the Dark Peak © Chris Maguire