Meadows and Seasons

Each season in the South West brings its own delights. Visit ancient woodlands in early spring for wild daffodils and wood anemones, and in late spring for bluebells. In April the rare snake’s head fritillary transforms damp meadows, while in May and June exquisite native orchids emerge.

Look out for ponies and their foals on Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor in early summer, when grassland is dotted with wild flowers. At this season, many woodland glades are alive with butterflies, such as the marsh fritillary, and on a warm evening you might see glow- worms, too.

Dolphins and porpoises, drawn by the warm Gulf Stream currents, swim up the coast in the summer months, and Cornwall is a hot-spot for basking sharks. These huge but harmless plankton eaters turn up in springtime, often staying until the end of summer. The abundant life in the water also attracts many birds, including gannets, fulmars, puffins and seasonal migrants such as shearwaters, skuas and kittiwakes.

In autumn, the South West’s ancient woodlands blaze with fiery colours, while enormous flocks of starlings, numbering tens of thousands, creating dazzling aerial displays as winter approaches.