Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

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

Summer

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

Autumn

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

Winter

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

Rock ’n’ roll with geology

Bishop Middleham quarry © Durham Wildlife Trust

Connect the wildlife you love with the rocks and geology beneath your feet: tropical coral seas, explosive volcanoes and ancient forests have all played their part in shaping our islands and their rich wildlife.

The rocks beneath our feet have a fascinating story to tell, a story that has lasted almost 3,000 million years.

The rocks that now make up Scotland started out on the continent of Gondwana, down near the Antarctic Circle, while England and Wales were submerged beneath a shallow sea studded with volcanic islands.

Between then and now the land beneath us has travelled halfway around the world, through periods of busy volcanic activity which piled up great depths of ash and lava, sunk beneath warm tropical seas rich in coral reefs, been colonised by swamps and rain forests and drifted further north to be swamped by river sediments and mud flats.

Glaciers have come and gone, returned and then retreated again, covering the land in one kilometre thick ice and then carving out much of the landscape we recognise today.

Throughout our countryside you can now see evidence of our dramatic history, in rocky cliffs, boulder-strewn hillsides, caverns and gorges and a whole gamut of quarries. One consequence of quarrying is the opportunity to peek into the Earth’s ancient history. Exposure of rocks million years old can reveal fossilised species like brachipods, gastropods and ammonites as well as fossilised shark teeth, shells and wood. Left to regenerate naturally (sometimes with some conservation management) nature is steadily reclaiming these places back from their industrial past. Many Wildlife Trusts have taken on management of disused quarries to care for these special and unusual places and their wildlife.

How to do it

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… Have fun exploring the wild places around you. You can share your photos with us by tweeting @wildlifetrusts or using the hashtag #wildgeology, or share them with our Wildlife Trusts group on Flickr. For a good introduction to the rocks beneath our feet, read “The Lie of the Land: an under-the-field guide to Great Britain” by Ian Vince.

Special spots

Avon: Brown’s Folly is a fascinating reserve that combines natural beauty with the remains of Bath stone quarries. The reserve’s huge amount of exposed rock, quarries and mines all echo the 300 years of mining activity that once flourished here, including the stone provided for the facade of Buckingham Palace.

The disused quarries provide excellent conditions for roosting bats including the greater horseshoe. Many species of wildflower including the pyramidal orchid, harebell and wild thyme also benefit from the exposed rock, giving home to many invertebrates including the green hairstreak butterfly. Rare breeds of sheep help preserve the reserves geological features here by grazing on encroaching vegetation and shrub.

Anglesey,  Cors Goch

Avon, Goblin Combe

Bedfordshire, Totternhoe

Birmingham, Moorcroft Wood

Birmingham, Portway Hill

Buckinghamshire, College Lake

Cornwall, St Erth Pits

Cornwall, Tresayes

Cumbria, Clint’s Quarry

Derbyshire, Miller’s Dale Quarry

Devon, Meeth Quarry

Dorset, King Barrow Quarries

Dorset, Tout Quarries

Durham, Bishop Middleham Quarry

Durham, Blackhall Rocks

Durham, Trimdon Grange Quarry

Essex, The Naze

Gloucestershire, Cutsdean Quarry

Gloucestershire, Spion Kop Quarry

Gloucestershire, Stenders Quarry

Hertfordshire, Ashwell Quarry and Quarry Springs

Lancashire, Cross Hill Quarry

Lancashire, Salthill Quarry

Lancashire, Warton Crag

Leicestershire, Browns Hill Quarry

Leicestershire,  Tilton Railway Quarry

Lothian, Petershill

Northumberland, Hadrian’s Wall and Whin Sill Corridor

Northumberland, East Crindledykes Quarry

Oxfordshire, Dry Sandford Pit

Powys,  Llanymynech Rocks

Shropshire,  Dolgoch Quarry

Shropshire,  The Ercall

Somerset,  Ubley Warren

Surrey,  Brockham Limeworks

Worcestershire,  Crews Hill Wood

Wrexham,  Marford Quarry

Yorkshire,  Wharram Quarry

 Bishop Middleham quarry © Avon Wildlife Trust

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