Great Outdoors Friday, June 2nd

30 Days Wild: Herefordshire edition

Great Outdoors Friday, June 2nd

30 Days Wild: Herefordshire edition

Whether it's rolling down hills like a grass-stained six-year-old, foraging for cocktail ingredients, or standing barefoot in the back garden, a daily dose of nature, even in bite size chunks, can improve both health and happiness. 

Throughout June, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) is championing just that with 30 Days Wild, a summer campaign that inspires ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ whether you live in London or Llandinabo.

For five minutes or five hours, what you do is up to you. You can download the 30 Days Wild app, and apply for a pack, including wildflower seeds and stickers, at mywildlife.org.uk/30dayswild. And for instant inspiration, here is Frances Weeks with 30 easy ways to go wild in the 'Shire this summer.

1. Picnic in an orchard

Hereford is well known for its beautiful orchards which also provide an excellent habitat for wildlife from birds such as woodpeckers and thrushes to bees and butterflies and lots of lovely wildflowers. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust manages orchards at Common Hill, Bodenham Lake and Lower House Farm nature reserves - herefordshirewt.org/wildlife/reserves.

2. Canoe down the Wye

As well as being a fun way to get some fresh air, exercise and take in some beautiful views, taking to the water can also be a great way to spot wildlife. You are likely to see kingfishers along the Wye.

3. Spot peregrines on the Wye Valley Walk through Symonds Yat

Symonds Yat Rock overlooks a spectacular gorge through which the River Wye snakes. This rock is the perfect viewpoint from which to watch raptors: a pair of Peregrine Falcons that nest annually within sight of the rock.

4. Amble through parkland

Eastnor Castle. by Johana Joudalova

Eastnor Castle parkland. Pic: Johana Joudalova.

Wonderful vistas across placid lakes and rolling pasture; Herefordshire has captured the picturesque at historic estates such as Croft Castle (NT) and Eastnor Castle deer park. Take a stately stroll and finish with tea and scones.

5. Read a wild book

For days when a less strenuous option is welcome! Herefordshire is home to esteemed nature writer John Lewis-Stempel whose books Meadowland and The Running Hare are evocative records of the Herefordshire countryside.

6. Wander through a wild flower meadow

Wildflower meadows are at their best in June. Run your fingers through the long grass or take along a wildflower identification guide and immerse yourself in the flowers. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust manages many wonderful meadows including Stockings Meadow near Bromyard, Crow Wood and Meadow near Vowchurch, Birches Farm near Kington and the Sturts, between Staunton-on-Wye and Eardisley. herefordshirewt.org/wildlife/reserves

7. Discover an historic common

Bromyard Downs Common, to the North East of Hereford is an idyllic place to walk and ecologically one of Herefordshire’s jewels. To the West of Hereford Garaway Hill and Yatton Hill commons have Iron Age Hill forts to find and explore whilst Hergest Ridge stretches across the England/Welsh border and offers spectacular views.

8. Cycle the Herefordshire Cider Route

Photo via Twitter: Victoria Martin / @vixenscry100

@vixenscry100/Twitter

Throughout Herefordshire there is a strong tradition of farm cider making. Featured on the Cider Route are a range of cider producers who have opened up their doors allowing you to peep into the fascinating world of cider and perry production and taste cider and perry straight from the casks.

9. Explore your local footpath & record your daily sightings

Herefordshire is criss-crossed with miles of footpaths so why not discover your local paths? Visiting the same area frequently means that you build up an intimate knowledge of the area and see the detail that you might otherwise miss. Making a note of the wildlife you see can similarly help you to understand the ecology of your local patch. Record your sightings at herefordshirewt.org/recording

10. Visit Churchyards

These are often excellent places for wildlife and wildflowers. The Church of St. Michael in Dulas is now redundant but due to the unspoilt rural nature of the parish it is home to some nationally rare wildlife. The churchyard hosts a variety of orchids, and the Dulas brook that runs through the parish is home to otters and White Clawed Crayfish. Seeds from the wildflowers there have been used to re-seed some of the trusts reserves. Brockhampton Church has carved illustrations of wildflowers within its interior and is one of the few thatched roof churches in the country.

11. Hellens Garden Festival

Hellens Garden Festival is running on 10th & 11th June and this year’s theme is Growing today for all our tomorrows.

12. Explore Woolhope Dome

The Dome is an area of distinct hills to the south-east of Hereford. A predominantly pastoral and wooded landscape, part of it lies within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Dome has a unique geological background and for the most part, its eroded hills and valleys have not been intensively farmed. As a consequence, the Dome is a rich mosaic of ancient oak and mixed woodlands, species-rich hedgerows, wildflower meadows, traditional orchards and streams, all supporting a wealth of wildlife. A guided walk can be downloaded here.

13. Famlily Fun

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s WildPlay team run activities across the county and there’s lots to enjoy in June. Their sessions at Queenswood can be found here: queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org/whats-on or follow WildPlay on Facebook to see where they are popping up around the county: facebook.com/HerefordshireWildPlay.

14. Go wild in the city

img 0033

Join the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s City Group on a walk to discover the green and blue corridors running through Hereford City.

15. Discover castles

Many castles and ruins flank the border between Herefordshire and Wales, as well as being steeped in history they provide a fantastic habitat for wildlife. Wildflowers and ferns grow amongst the stones and towers, birds nest in the crevices and the grounds are often fairly undisturbed, near woodland and water, making them ideal locations for a day out wildlife spotting.

16. Get buzzy on a Bumblebee workshop

We all know how vital bees are for our ecosystems – find out more and how you can help on this workshop on 16th June.

17. Make a stand for the wood white butterfly

This fast declining species still has a stronghold in the West Midlands. A Butterfly Conservation-led project is helping to conserve them; find out how you can help here. In Herefordshire, Haugh Wood is a good place to look out for this delicate butterfly.

18. Explore the Doward reserves

 

A post shared by @haro.18 on

The Doward is a limestone hill around which the River Wye has carved a steep-sided gorge. The limestone was formed some 345 million years ago. The Doward today is a wonderful patchwork of habitats, including ancient and secondary woodland, forestry plantations, fragments of flower-rich grasslands, old hedgerows and limestone outcrops, and is home to some of the counties rarest plants and animals. The Herefordshire Wildlife Trust manages a cluster of reserves on the Doward: King Arthur's Cave, Leeping Stocks, Lord's Wood, Lower Wood, Miner's Rest, White Rocks and Woodside. A guided walk can be downloaded at herefordshirewt.org/walks

19. Yew Tree Wander

Yew trees are evergreen; they can make dense habitats that provide protection and nesting opportunities for birds and produce berries for food. The Yew Tree at St.Peters Church in Peterchurch is the oldest in the country at 3,000 years old. At Nupend Wood a notable feature of the reserve, and unique for the area, is the large stand of well established, ancient yews growing along the top of the ridge through which a footpath meanders.

20. Spot an otter!

Otters are happily living – and breeding – in the River Wye and River Lugg. Lugg Meadows and Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve which borders the Lugg are good places for spotting them – though they are notoriously elusive! Play detective hunting for their tracks and spraint (that's poo!) on muddy banks.

21. Try a wild Herefordshire ingredient

Local social enterprise Orchard Origins manage orchards for people and for wildlife. They’ve just launched an Apple Verjuice which is proving a popular ingredient with cocktail gurus across the country… orchardorigins.org

[How to Make: Homemade Apple Blossom Martini]

22. Gardens in the Wild

Some of gardening’s most illustrious names head to Herefordshire for this two-day festival at the Whitfield estate. Walks, talks, exclusive open gardens, nursery stalls and tea and cake make play their part in the floral festivities. Move over Chelsea! gardensinthewild.org

23. Get some expert insight

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust's Black Mountains Group will be running a guided walk at Marises Meadows on 9th June to see spring flowers and orchids - led by Conservation Manager Andrew Nixon.

24. Join a volunteer group

Want to get stuck in and do something active for nature? Herefordshire run volunteer work groups which carry our practical tasks on their reserves across the county. Details online at herefordshirewt.org/volunteer or call Estates Manager James Hitchcock on 01432 356872. Or join Orchard Origins who spend each Friday tending to beautiful orchards around the county orchardorigins.org.

25. Shop for Wildlife

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust runs a gorgeous gift shop at Queenswood Country Park and will be opening a charity shop in Ledbury in June with all profits funding the Trust’s conservation work around the county.

26. Get gardening

via TheMontyDon/Instagram

@TheMontyDon/Instagram

Herefordshire is home to the nation’s favourite gardener, Monty Don - who is also the Patron of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust- surely it is the home of wildlife gardening! You get a little packet of wildflower seeds free when you sign up for 30 Days Wild so there’s no excuse not to create a wildlife haven in your own back garden – or window box!

27. Cross borders

The county border between Herefordshire and Worcestershire runs along the Malvern Hills with wonderful views over both counties. The Malvern Hills Trust welcomes walkers, runners, cyclists, do-walkers and horse riders and encourages all visitors to respect the needs of others. malvernhills.org.uk

28. Learn about Pond Life at Bodenham Lake

On the 21st June, join experts at this fantastic nature reserve for an Introduction to Aquatic Invertebrates. This is a free workshop run as part of the Lugg Wetland Gem project which is revitalising the wildlife habitat at Bodenham Lake. Find out more about the project and how to get involved here: herefordshirewt.org/bodenhamlakeproject

29. Get Knitting

You may not have a hedgehog in your garden but you can knit your own with this free pattern. A complete kit is also available from the shop at Queenswood Country Park.

30. Wild dining

Herefordshire is frequently described as a foodie paradise so make the most of it and dine alfresco in a rural gastro pub – or your back garden – with the hum of bees in the air, sun on your back and grass beneath your feet.

..........

mywildlife.org.uk/30dayswild | #30DaysWild

 

Do you want to write for Herefordshire Live? Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or say hello@herefordshirelive.co.uk