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

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Snake's-head fritillaries © Sebastian Crump

Visit one of our special nature havens to see a purple haze of nodding snake’s-head fritillaries.

Visit in the morning, or towards the close of play

The snake’s-head fritillary is a flower of damp riverside hay meadows, blooming in the spring alongside lady’s smock and marsh marigold, with orange tip butterflies fluttering by, the newly-returned willow warbler singing from the riverbank and a cuckoo declaring from the willow trees.  Its favoured meadows may be few and far between, but where it does grow it often grows in great profusion, with carpets of the chequered flowers nodding in the spring sunshine.  Questions remain about whether this is a truly native species: the first reference to it growing in the wild is as relatively recent as 1736, despite already being known from gardens some 150 years earlier.  But whatever its origins, the sight of a field ablaze with the drooping wine-red heads is a sight worth seeing.

How to do it

The snake’s-head fritillary is now a rare plant in the wild.  Visit in the morning, or towards the close of play, to get the best views of the flowers when they are back-lit, glowing a berry red.

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… Hay meadows are amongst the most endangered habitats in the country, and you are lucky indeed if you live near to a flower-rich grassland.  The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), which manages Iffley Meadows has a great selection of photos of the fritillaries on its flickr account, as well as other wildlife spotted on its nature reserves. Have a browse here

Special spots

At Iffley Meadows in Oxfordshire an extraordinary restoration of snake’s-head fritillaries has occurred a mile south of Oxford city centre.  Only 500 of these delicate purple and pink chequered lantern flowers were counted here when the Wildlife Trust took on the management of the site in 1983.  Now volunteers record over 89,000 individual plants annually.

Herefordshire, Lugg Meadow

Suffolk, Fox Fritillary Meadow

Wiltshire, Clattinger Farm

White fritillaries © Herefordshire Wildlife Trust