8 mins

30 ways for you to get wild around the UK

The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild challenge encourages you to enjoy nature each day this June. Here are some fantastic ideas for ways to get out and explore wildlife, plantlife, flowers and landscapes

Badger (Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills Photography)

1: Exalt at skylarks’ song

The song of the skylark has inspired more poets than any other; watch and listen as it soars and falls singing beautiful songs.

Where to see them: Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire


Image: Skylark (Amy Lewis)



2: Marvel at marine megafauna

Basking shark (Andrew Pearson)

Basking sharks can be 10 metres long but only feed on animal plankton, sieving it through their vast mouths.

Where to see them: Off the coast of the Isle of Man



3: Spot an otter

Otter (Amy Lewis)

Dawn and dusk are best times for viewing. This secretive star of our rivers has made a comeback. Look for clues on wet mud, footprints with five webbed toes.

Where to see them: Nene Wetlands, Northamptonshire



4: Be dazzled by a buzzard

Buzzard (Amy Lewis)

Listen out for their cat-like, 'kee-yaaa' calls as they soar in high circles over grassland, farmland and woodlands.

Where to see them: Priors Wood, Avon



5: Hark to a bittern’s boom

Bittern (Tim Stenton)

The spine-chilling ‘boom’ can carry for up to three miles over reedbeds where they nest. Head for a hide and wait.

Where to see them: Hickling Broad, Norfolk 



6: Gape at hunting hobbies 

Falcon hunting dragonfly (Andy Morffew)

This handsome falcon with a bold black moustache gorges on dragonflies. See this sleek bird over reed beds and wetlands.

Where to see them: Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve, Avalon Marshes, Somerset


7: Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Water vole on riverbank (Tom Marshall)

Head to the riverbank to track down one of our most endangered and much-loved mammals, the water vole. Follow the water vole trail to Winnall Moor.

Where to see them: Winnall Moors, Hampshire


8: Journey to seabird city

Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire (Dreamstime)

Experience the sights and sounds (and smells) of a seabird colony. With thousands of birds in one place, the air is full of whirring wings as adults bring food to growing chicks. Stay overnight on Skokholm Island.

Where to explore: Skokholm Island, two miles off Pembrokeshire coast.  



9: Stake out a badger sett

Badger (Andrew J Mason)

Set up a night-watch on a sett and be enchanted by badgers, but don’t disturb them. Go on a guided Badger safari at the Falls of Clyde.

Where to see them: Falls of Clyde, Lanarkshire, Scotland



10: Fall for the fastest bird

Swooping on its prey the peregrine is fastest bird in the world having been clocked diving at a mind-boggling 242 miles per hour! Go urban wild and spot them on Derby Cathedral.

Where to see them: Derby Cathedral, Derby


If you can’t get there there’s a webcam

Image: Peregrine (Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography)


11: Party with puffins 

Puffin (Gillian Day)

The comical puffin rears its puffling chick in cliff top burrows. Living for 25 years or more, the male returns to the same cliff top year after year to join his mate.

Where to see them: Handa Island, Scotland  


You can also try:  Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve, Yorkshire


12: Spot our largest butterfly

Swallowtail (Derek Moore)

Head to Norfolk to catch a glimpse of our largest butterfly, the rare swallowtail. Its false eye confuses predators.

Where to see them: Cockshoot Broad, Norfolk



13: Be spellbound by summer orchids

Common Spotted Orchid (Philip Precey)

Enter a bewitching world of men and monkey, ladies, lizards, frogs and flies – all our summer orchids. Some are fragrant. A rare one smells strongly of bill goats!

Where to see them: Yockletts Bank, near Ashford, Kent  



14: Delight in a glowworm

Glow worm female (John Tyler)

Watch as grasslands light up with glow worms, looking for love. Under a crescent moon let your eyes adjust to the dark and the magic of green lamps on a summer’s eve.

Where to see them: Frays Farm Meadows, London  


You can also try: Newbourne Springs, Suffolk



15: Find your flippers for a snorkel trail

Beach in the North West Highlands of Scotland (Dreamstime)

Seas off the North West Highlands coast brim with life, from small sea squirts and anemones to dolphins, whales and harmless basking sharks. Strong swimmers should follow the North West Highlands Snorkel Trail.

Where to explore: North West Highlands Snorkel Trail 


You can also try:  The mild, shallow waters of Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset


16: Go batty as night falls

Brown long-eared bat (Tom Marshall)

Unseen and unnoticed by most of us, the countryside fills up with these nocturnal insectivores. For a special view, glide along on a bat punt safari in Grantchester Meadows.

Where to see them: Grantchester Meadows.Cambridge


17: Watch out for wild beavers

Beaver female (Mike Symes)

Four hundred years after England’s beavers were hunted to extinction, stroll along the banks of the River Otter at dusk or dawn to spot the country’s only wild beavers.

Where to see them: River Otter, Devon



18: Be a kid again

Velvet swimming crab (Tim Ferrero)

Rock pooling is for adults too! Net in hand, pick up a seashore explorer pack, and enter the world of blennies and velvet swimming crabs.

Where to explore: Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve, Dorset 


19: Trek to the UK’s newest island at Spurn Point

Spurn Point (David Nichols)

A wilderness which needs a 4x4 specially converted Unimog Spurn Safari to reach the tip - there’s no road . Read the safety information on tides and soft sand.

Where to explore: Spurn National Nature Reserve, Yorkshire


20: Wear a hat for terns!

Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey (Dreamstime)

Visit a tern colony but don’t get too close: tern parents are notoriously feisty! A hat may come in handy! At Cemlyn Bay, a large lagoon is separated from the sea by a spectacular, shingle ridge.

Where to see them: Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey


Here are some challenging walks to bring you closer to nature in the UK.


21: Brae Pasture, South House Pavement and Southerscales nature reserves

On the shoulder of Ingleborough (Les Binns)

For a real challenge, walk Ingleborough SSSI and National Nature Reserve which makes up part of Yorkshire’s well-known three peak challenge. Clamber over narrow clints (blocks) and grykes (fissures) of the limestone pavement and keep any eye out for buzzards.

Where to explore: Ingleborough SSSI and National Nature Reserve




22: Whitbarrow

Whitbarrow (Cumbria Wildlife Trust)

With stunning views of the Cumbrian fells and Morecambe Bay, and occupying 100 hectares on top of the Scar, Whitbarrow is a striking place for a long walk. It is also rich in wildflowers and butterflies.

Where to explore: Whitbarrow. Between Kendal and Grange over sands, Cumbria 



23: Mynydd Ffoesidoes

Mynydd Ffoesidoes (Matthew Roberts)

Ffoesidoes is over 2000 ft, high up in the Radnor Forest and close to the highest point Black Mixen, with amazing views. It boasts shrub heath, heather and crowberry, which is often filled with Emperor moths. Keep your eye out for the bronze-age burial mound and enjoy the bird song of skylarks, meadow, and tree pipits. For those thirsty for a challenge, trek through the tall and springy heather for a more difficult walk.

Where to explore: Mynydd Ffoesidoes Radnor Forest, Knighton, Powys 



24: Helman Tor

Trek the wilderness trail which links heathland, willow and oak woodland and numerous ponds. It is waymarked, forming a five-mile circuit brought alive with birdsong and sundews. The huge reserve spreads from the slopes of Helman Tor.

Where to explore: Helman Tor, South of Bodmin Cornwall 


Image: Helman Tor (David Chapman)


25: Discover Laurie Lee’s home ground

Swift's Hill in Slad Valley (Dreamstime)

This six-mile circular walk in the Slad valley remembers the author, best known for Cider with Rosie. The Laurie Lee Wildlife Way explores the landscapes that inspired him. It has very steep hill climbs and breathtaking views. Can you make it around all 11 installed poetry posts?

Where to explore: Slad Valley, Gloucestershire




26: Visit the UK’s newest and most southerly Bird Observatory on Alderney, and explore history too

Alderney Garden Rocks (Alderney Wildlife Trust)

The Nunnery, temporary home of the ABO, was converted to Resistance Nest ‘Piratenschloss’ by the Germans during WWII. There are a network of bunkers and machine gun posts (without guns!) in the Nunnery garden.

Where to explore: Alderney Bird Observatory



27:  Discover Starfish sites on Farlington Marshes

Farlington Marshes (Peter Emery)

A WWII decoy site designed to draw enemy bombers from Portsmouth’s docks. Fake building and firelight-fooled German bombers, it became the most successful Operation Starfish site in the country. On one night alone in April 1941, over 140 bombers unloaded over 200 munitions on Farlington Marshes and in Langstone Harbour instead of the city of Portsmouth, saving thousands of lives. Control bunkers for this elaborate operation of deception can still be seen around the nature reserve today.

Where to see them: Farlington Marshes, Havant, Hampshire



28: Explosive day out in Wales

Gwaith Powdwr (Damien Hughes)

Gwaith Powdwr, or the Powder Works, was once the largest explosives factory in Europe. It is now a nature reserve managed for Lesser horseshoe bats, Nightjar and reptiles. It played a vital role in both World Wars manufacturing munitions, and evidence of its industrial past can be seen on a walk round the reserve today.

Where to explore: Gwaith Powdwr, Gwynedd 


29: Secret railways

Ariel view of Smardale (Andrew Walter)

Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve occupies a 6km/3.5 mile section of disused railway line which once ran from Tebay to Darlington. Follow the old line through woodland brimming with plants, trees, then a wide, surfaced path leads to Smardale Gill Viaduct, where common lizards can be spotted sheltering between the huge slabs of sandstone.

Where to explore: Smardale Gill, near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria



30: A walk through time

Gilfach River (Radnorshire Wildlife Trust)

Gilfach nature reserve is an old upland farm, with 400 acres to explore. A nature trail follows the River Marteg upstream, past the otter hide, up the lane and out along the Monks Trod with fine views of the valley and great picnic spots.

Where to explore: Gilfach, north of Rhayader, Powys 



31: Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Ospreys fly from sub-saharan Africa to Rutland Water to make their summer home. Follow their progress and see them and their chicks at Rutland Water.

For information on where to see them visit: to see them, visit: www.ospreys.org.uk/

Alternatively, check out the Opsrey web cam


Image: Osprey (Emyr Evans)

You can find more challenging walks here.

30 Days Wild is an initiative by the UK's Wildlife Trusts, encouraging people to spend a few minutes - or a few hours - each day enjoying nature. Sign up to get a free 30Days Wild pack* and download the app for inspiring Random Acts of Wildness. Blog about it and 30 Days Wild could host your blog. Enter the competition too. Share your adventures #30DaysWild & @30DaysWild and on Facebook

Packs*: You can sign up now to get a free 30 Days Wild Pack - wildflower seeds, mini meadow instructions, everyday nature spotter ID sheet, poster/wall chart to record activities, stickers. There’s a download version (without the seeds and stickers).

Contact 30 Days Wild for more information.

Find easily accessible wild places here


Main image: Badger (Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills Photography)

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