It’s mid July, so by our optimistic calculations we are not even half way through summer yet!Meaning there’s still plenty of time to snap up treats to create the perfect outdoor entertaining area for soirees.We’re loving the wild vibes from the
'It’s mid July, so by our optimistic calculations we are not even half way through summer yet!Meaning there’s still plenty of time to snap up treats to create the perfect outdoor entertaining area for soirees.We’re loving the wild vibes from the latest Marks and Spencer picnicware range.More in stores: Marks & Spencer launches a new cleaning range that Mrs Hinch fans will go crazy for Who says picnicware is just for the park?This collection is almost too beautiful to let it leave the garden.The sun-baked collection of picnicware features dinner plates, glasses and servingware – all sure to get the garden party started this summer.Summer M&S picnicware collection Take a walk on the wild side with this fun and fabulous sun-baked picnicware collection.Decorated with graceful zebras, flamboyant flamingos and majestic tigers it’s perfect for adding colour to outdoor dining.To offer a long-lasting and durable aesthetic the multi-purpose, the dinner plates and bowls are made from melamine.The jug and high ball glasses are made using hard-wearing acrylic.Buy now: Set of 4 Sun-baked Dinner Plates, £16, Marks & Spencer Buy now: Sun-baked Flamingo Jug, £15, Marks & Spencer View this post on Instagram WILD for the weekend!Whatever the weather this bank holiday, this grrr-eat Sun Baked picnicware will brighten up every get-together…ideal whether you’re indoors or out! – #mandshome A post shared by Marks & Spencer Home PR (@marksandspencerhomepr) on May 3, 2019 at 7:03am PDT As Marks & Spencer say, ‘this grrr-eat Sun Baked picnicware will brighten up every get-together…ideal whether you’re indoors or out’. The comments of adoration follow; ‘So in love with all of these colors .’ ‘Love that zebra!!! ’. With one shopper ahead of the curve saying, ‘Have these and they are gorgeous’. A melamine cake/serve stand is just the thing to add the perfect finishing touch to any garden party.Buy now: Sun-baked Two Tier Serve Stand, £15, Marks & Spencer View this post on Instagram Go wild with perfect picnic ware!We’re getting all the summer garden-party vibes from @littlehouseinlondon – #mandshome A post shared by Marks & Spencer Home PR (@marksandspencerhomepr) on Jul 5, 2019 at 5:37am PDT How’s this for the perfect spot to enjoy the rest of the summer sunshine?Marks and Spencer shared this snap to demonstrate how one happy customer has styled up their wild M&S summer buys.Complete with on-trend festoon bulbs and flamingo fairy lights this space is enough to make anyone feel warm and sunny – whatever the weather.More for your outdoor space: See Romo’s first collection of outdoor fabrics Will you be going wild in your local M&S, buying this whole collection? . The post Shoppers go wild for this latest summer range at Marks & Spencer appeared first on Ideal Home .'
It’s mid July, so by our optimistic calculations we are not even half way through summer yet!Meaning there’s still plenty of time to snap up treats to create the perfect outdoor entertaining area for soirees.We’re loving the wild vibes from the
From Roman coins to fossils and priceless gems, stones and metals, there is a wealth of hidden treasure in the British countryside, which is just waiting to be discovered. Our expert guide on how to hunt for treasure and where to find it in Britain
'According to recent treasure reports, Britain is enjoying a boom in treasure hunting, with more than 1,000 treasure finds recorded in 2017. Our expert guide on how to hunt for treasure in the UK and best places to find it, plus an overview of famous treasure finds. How to hunt for treasure in Britain You need permission to pan for gold on private or environmentally protected land; for more details see britishgoldpanningassociation.co.uk . Remember to take care of tides and rock hazards when searching for fossils and agates, and research restrictions for each area. See the Treasure Act 1996 for a code of practice. Visit the National Council for Metal Detecting (NCMD) for metal detecting code of conduct. In 2010 in a field in Frome, Somerset, hospital chef Dave Crisp and his metal detector came across a hoard of 52,000 Roman coins buried in a large pot under the ground. One of the most important aspects of the find is that it contains a large group of coins of Carausius, who ruled Britain independently from AD 286 to AD 293. Treasure recorded in the UK According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport treasure report, in 2016, there were 1,116 cases of reported treasure finds. The provisional figure for 2017 was 1,267 making this the fourth year in a row when the number exceeded 1,000. Read the report Famous treasure finds in Britain Do you dream of finding treasure? Here are some famous cases of treasure-hunters who struck gold, with details of where you can see their precious finds now… Gold and silver metalwork from the Staffordshire Hoard. Picture: Getty Images Staffordshire Hoard BURIED: c. 7 th century FOUND: 2009, near Hammerwich, Staffordshire The largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork yet found, comprising 3,500 items , including 5.1kg of gold . It was discovered by detectorist Terry Herbert when he was searching an area of ploughed farmland. The collection includes decorations from swords and other weaponry, and was valued at £3.28 million. SEE: Items from the Staffordshire Hoard are on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, birminghammuseums.org.uk More items are on display in Stoke on Trent and Tamworth – see staffordshirehoard.org.uk for details. More related content: Day Out: Hunt for Treasure in Petworth, West Sussex Britain’s most beautiful churches Guide to Britain’s battlefields: history and best sites to visit Possibly the best Viking-era find ever in Britain: the Galloway Hoard Galloway Hoard BURIED: c. 1,000 AD (research continues) FOUND: 2014, Dumfries and Galloway “My senses exploded, I went into shock, endorphins flooded my system and away I went stumbling towards my colleagues waving it in the air.” This was how retired businessman and detectorist Derek McLennan described his discovery of a Viking arm ring on church land in Dumfries and Galloway, in a BBC interview. His find led to the unearthing of more than 100 ancient objects valued at £1.98m . Described by National Museums Scotland as “the richest Viking-age collection discovered anywhere in Britain” , the hoard included valuable silver ingots, prized arm-rings, a silver pendant Christian cross, brooches, beads and a delicately crafted gold pin in the shape of a bird. SEE: Items from the hoard were displayed at the National Museum of Scotland in summer 2017, but have now been sent away for an estimated two years for conservation. If all goes well, expects the hoard to be back on display some time from late 2019. Find out more at nms.ac.uk The trove of copper-alloy coins dates from between 260 and 348 AD. Picture: RAMM Seaton Down Hoard BURIED: 4 th century FOUND: 2014, Near Seaton, East Devon Detectorist Laurence Egerton chanced upon two ancient coins buried just under the surface of a field near Seaton. After further digging his find grew into a staggering 22,888 Roman coins – roughly equivalent to two years’ pay for a middle-ranking civil servant of the day, apparently – and the third largest such hoard ever recovered in Britain. • SEE the Seaton Down Hoard at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter, Devon. rammuseum.org.uk The coins of the Lenborough Hoard were minted during the reigns of kings Aethelred the Unready and Cnut, around 1,000 years ago. Picture: Getty Images Lenborough Hoard BURIED: 11 th century. FOUND: 2014, in a field south of the town of Buckingham Detectorist Paul Coleman found 5,252 late Anglo-Saxon silver coins worth £1.35 million. Read more about Paul’s discovery in our separate feature here . • SEE 1,000 coins from the Lenbrorough hoard are on display at Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury. buckscountymuseum.org A silver handpin and two bracelets were among artefacts that lay undiscovered for at least 1,200 years. Picture: copyright National Museums Scotland Gaulcross Hoard BURIED: c. 400-600AD FOUND: 2013, Near Fordyce, Aberdeenshire Alistair McPherson was working alongside National Museums Scotland when he discovered a hoard of Roman and Pictish silver in a field – the most northerly find of its sort in Europe. Among more than 100 pieces of silver were coins, brooches and bracelets. Alistair McPherson’s friends now simply call him “the Magnet”. SEE : the Gaulcross Hoard on display for the first time as part of the exhibition Scotland’s Early Silver, which includes other precious finds. Until 25 February 2018 at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh. nms.ac.uk The Ringlemere Cup was hammered from a single piece of gold, before the handle was added. Picture: copyright Trustees of the British Museum The Ringlemere Cup BURIED: 1700 to 1500 BC FOUND: 2001, Ringlemere Farm, near Sandwich, Kent Cliff Bradshaw discovered a beautiful Bronze Age golden chalice in a muddy field. The badly-crushed cup, decorated in a cordware style, would have originally stood 14cm high with a rounded base. It is one of only two ever found in Britain. The British Museum bought the cup for £270,000, the money divided between Bradshaw and the landowners. SEE: The Ringlemere Cup on display in the prehistory galleries of the British Museum in London. britishmuseum.org The Viking-era Vale of York cup is made of gold and silver. Picture: Getty Images Vale of York Hoard BURIED: c.927AD FOUND: 2007, near Harrogate, Yorkshire David Whelan and his son Andrew were exploring a field when they discovered a finely engraved Viking bowl of silver. Their discovery inspired a full dig that uncovered the largest Viking hoard found in Britain since the Cuerdale hoard of 1840. The 6 17 silver coins and 65 other pieces of silver items were later valued at Valued at £1,082,000 by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee. SEE: the Vale of York Hoard: Items from the hoard form part of a touring exhibition, Viking: Rediscovering the Legend, on display at the Djanogly Gallery in Nottingham from 24 November 2017 to 4 March 2018, and after that in Southport, Aberdeen and Norwich. More details from yorkshiremuseum.org.uk Roman coins A hoard of 52,000 Roman coins were found in Frome, Somerset in 2010 (Getty) In 2010 in a field in Frome, Somerset, hospital chef Dave Crisp and his metal detector came across a hoard of 52,000 Roman coins buried in a large pot under the ground . One of the most important aspects of the find is that it contains a large group of coins of Carausius, who ruled Britain independently from AD 286 to AD 293. More related content: Guide to Neolithic Britain: when was the Neolithic period, history and best sites to visit Guide to Britain’s castles: history and best to visit Guide to Britain’s Feudal Era: when were the Middle Ages and best medieval sites to visit Gold and silver artefacts The Staffordshire Hoard found by Terry Herbert in 2009 (Getty) Metal detector enthusiast Terry Herbert found more than 3,500 gold and silver artefacts in a field in Hammerwich in July 2009 in what became known as ‘The Staffordshire hoard’. The vast majority of items in the hoard were martial gear, especially sword and helmet fittings. It is the largest hoard of gold from the period ever found. 900 silver pennies With the exact location withheld, over a six-year period amateur enthusiasts found over 900 silver pennies on an Anglesey beach. Dates of the pennies ranged from 1272-1307 and while most were English, there were also coins from Scotland, Ireland and some European countries. A treasure chest River Ribble, discovery site of the Curedale Hoard (Getty) In 1840 workmen hauled a lead-lined chest from the bank of the River Ribble. Inside was over 8,500 pieces of silver consisting of coins, ingots, amulets, chains, rings, cut-up brooches and armlets . It is the largest Viking Age silver hoard found in northwestern Europe. Gold dollar coins In 2007, 80 gold dollar coins were found in the back garden of a Hackney property in London . All were $20 denominations known as ‘Double-Eagle’ minted in the US dating from 1854 – 1913. However, they were ruled not to be treasure as the previous owner’s son was eventually traced. What type of treasure can you to hunt for in Britain, plus best places to look 1 Semi-precious stones Runswick Bay was nominated England’s best beach for beachcombing in 2007 ©Getty Runswick Bay, just north of Whitby is an excellent destination for any beachcomber. Nominated England’s best beach for beachcombing in 2007, the beach and its surrounding cliffs are constantly revealing ancient fossils, lost jewellery and semi-precious stones. 2 Shipwrecks Walkers on Westward Ho! beach ©Getty Westward Ho! on the North Devon Coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and turns up some great finds for beachcombers. When the tide goes out, two shipwrecks are visible in the sand. 3 Far-flung treasures As a meeting point between the North Sea, The Thames Estuary and the English Channel, Kent makes an ideal location for beachcombing. With finds ranging from coins to silverware and even Baltic amber, Kent’s coastline is loaded with far-flung treasures. 4 Message in a bottle Who knows what you will discover on Camber Beach? ©Getty Camber Beach in East Sussex is one of the UK’s best beaches for beachcombing. With finds being anything from semi-precious stones and shark egg casings, to jewellery and messages in bottles. 5 Pan for gold Try your luck ©Getty For gold panners of all levels and experience, the Museum of Lead Mining in Dumfries & Galloway offers potential prospectors the chance to go panning for real gold that you can take away with you. Carry a pan into the Scottish hills and try your luck! 6 Gold The Dolaucothi Gold Mines in Ceredigion, though no longer a working mine have been in use since Roman times. Set amid the hillsides of the Cothi Valley you can try your hand at gold panning in the sifting troughs here. 7 Silver-lead The Silver-lead mine in Llywernog was initially established around 1742 and by 1842 the mine was operating successfully. The mine gradually became less and less productive until it closed around the 1880’s. Today it is an independent museum where you can work the mine material for Silver-lead and keep what you find . 8 Precious metals After panning for gems, visit another wonder of nature – Loch Tay ©Getty The Highlands of Scotland have long been known to be rich with precious metals. In fact the largest piece of gold ever found in Scotland came from this region. Perthshire’s Gold and Gem Panning Centre and nearby Loch Tay are no exception and offer excellent locations to hunt for gold and silver. More related content: Guide to Britain’s Feudal Era: when were the Middle Ages and best medieval sites to visit Guide to Britain’s Dark Ages: when they were, historical facts and best sites to visit Best walks in Snowdonia 9 White quartz White quartz spans the northern Irish countryside ©Getty Northern Ireland has been said to represent one of the most complex and varied areas of geology in the world and as the resulting gold from these geological processes occurs in veins of white quartz, panning is still the best method of finding it. 10 Marble In Torrin, situated near Elgol on the picturesque Isle of Skye, marble is quarried from the limestone-rich terrain. Skye marble – a genuine marble – has a distinct appearance due to the particular geology of the area in which limestone and granite come in to contact with each other. Many other minerals and precious stones are found in this area. 11 Rare smoky quartz With the exception of the famous Leadhills and Wanlockhead deposit, the mineralisation of Scotland’s Southern Uplands is small in scale but varied and includes a number of amethyst deposits found in granite intrusions . In 2009, small palm-sized plates were discovered in rare smoky quartz near the summit of Screel Hill. 12 Jasper Jasper can be found amid the volcanic hills of the Campsie Fells, just above the small village of Blanefield in Scotland. One of the more famous sites, specimens from here are generally blood red or yellow and prized by lapidaries for its fine grain. 13 Whitby jet The ancient Lias Sea (nowadays the area encompassed by the North York Moors National Park) created the perfect conditions for the formation of jet. Nowadays it can be found exposed in the cliffs and shores near the town of Whitby in small, fractured and worn pieces. Whitby jet is said to be the best quality jet available. 14 Blue John Blue John, also known as Derbyshire Spar or Derbyshire Blue John can only be found in the Castleton mines in Derbyshire. Mined during the 19th century for its ornamental value and shipped across the world, it is now considered scarce and only a few hundred kilograms are mined per year . The name derives from the French ‘bleu et jaune’ (blue and yellow), a reference to its colour. Take a walk from Castlton to the mines. 15 Amber Amber is fossilized tree resin ©Getty Amber is often found in the shingle along the Suffolk coastline and the best time to do so is said to be after a storm, when new exposures can occur. The amber found in this area is known as ‘Hastings firestorm amber’ on account of the unique characteristic and colour produced by localised forest fires that took place during the Cretaceous period. 16 Gemstones Near the village of Elie, in the county of Fife lies Ruby Bay. The name is a bit of a misnomer as the clear brownish-red gemstones found along its beach are actually pyrope garnets coloured by chromium. Embedded in the volcanic rock that forms the shoreline, the gemstones are displaced by the action of extreme weather and are best found after a storm or during the spring tides in the shingle. 17 Agate Just north of Dundee, Angus on the east coast of Scotland is arguably the countries most famous agate location . Though the locality is now covered up, it was made famous by the Usan blue hole agates – typically brilliant inky blue and white coloured agates – that were discovered, in the 19th century. 18 Sapphire Micro image of sapphire crystals ©Getty The rarest of Scotland’s gemstones , sapphire can only be found on the protected Isle of Harris – the site is the subject of a protection order banning their removal. These dark blue gemstones are of a particularly high quality, as they need no heat treatment to bring out their rich colour, unlike sapphires found outside Scotland. 19 Smoky quartz crystal Smoky quartz crystal ©Getty Located in the central highlands of Scotland, Loch Tay and the surrounding region was a centre of glaciation during the last ice age and as a result it is rich in mineral wealth deriving from the granite-based landscape, including many varieties of quartz; notably Cairngorm quartz, a form of smokey quartz crystal usually a yellow-brown colour. 20 Sea glass Leave the deckchairs for a spot of sea glass searching ©Getty Brighton’s sand-free shingle beach is an ideal place to look for sea glass. Because of the beach’s popularity, glass will often be discarded on the beach by visitors, and so the chances of finding sea glass here are quite high. The beaches of Lyme Regis offer an excellent source for finding sea glass. The coarse, stony beaches of Lyme Regis, in combination with the rough Atlantic swells that often reach the shore, have created ideal conditions for the creation of sea glass . Iona , on the west coast of Scotland is another great place to find sea glass. Looking out over the Atlantic, and practically unsheltered from storms this area’s beaches turn out some fantastic specimens of sea glass. Exposed to the fierce North Sea, Seaham on the Durham coast is a good place to look for sea glass. The beaches terrain and strong tidal sway help to create ideal conditions for sea glass production. After stormy weather, the beaches around Pentewan, south Cornwall and in particular places with headlands which catch the currents, are good places to search for sea glass according to local beachcombers. 21 Fossils Fossils dating back 17 million years can be found at Beachy Head ©Getty Dinosaur Coast, also known as the Fossil Coast stretches for around 35 miles along the east Yorkshire shoreline, some of the fossils found here are 120 million years old and you can even see dinosaur’s footprints still visible on the beach . Located on the southernmost tip of East Sussex, the chalk headland of Beachy Head showcases 17 million years of sediment deposition and fossils recorded in the chalk cliffs and surrounding beach. The 95-mile stretch of the East Devon and Dorset coastline (designated as England’s only natural World Heritage Site in December 2001) is a fantastic place to see some superbly preserved fossil remains ranging from the Triassic period, right through to the Cretaceous. Equally, the Isle of Wight has some brilliant locations such as Alum and Whitecliff Bay respectively. Finding fossils can prove more difficult at Marloes Bay than at other locations. Consisting of four main geological groups – Skomer Volcanic, Coralliferous, Gray Sandstone and Old Red Sandstone – visitors pass through each group in turn (heading south) until reaching the end of the bay. The Coralliferous Group offers the best chance to view fossils including a wealth of marine organisms . White Park Bay sits between two headlands on the North Antrim coast. Fossils, though not abundant, are common and if you know what to look for, the beach can reveal a trove of other archaeological evidence, including Neolithic tools. 22 Mines More an amalgamation of smaller, more ancient mines, Botallack Mine in West Penwith, Cornwall sits atop the cliffs over looking the ocean. There is evidence of tin mining going back as far as the 17th century on this site and visitors can see the ghostly remains of the mine’s buildings still clinging to the Cliffside. Two engine houses form part of the scattered remains of Wheal Trewavas Mine on the Cornish coast. Perched precariously atop the cliffs , the mine opened in 1834 and a plan of this time shows four copper lodes and one tin lode in operation. Exercise caution on the site and the paths leading to it, as the building are in a ruinous condition. Unsurprisingly, the East Pool Mine is situated to the east of the village of Pool in Cornwall. Preserved in excellent condition as part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape it boasts one of the largest pumping engines in the world and an industrial heritage discovery centre where you can learn about the story of Cornish mining. One of the most important Bronze Age copper mines ever discovered ; the Great Orme Mines are now a fee-paying attraction where visitors can explore the impressive caverns and winding tunnels of the mine on a self-guided tour. Located in Cumbria , the Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre testifies to the legacy of the mining industry that once dominated the landscape of the North Pennines. Visit Carr’s Mine to learn more about what was once one of the most productive mines in the country , producing lead and zinc over a period of three centuries. 23 Shipwrecks Sun sets over the Dollar Wreck in the Gower ©Getty The Royal Charter wrecked in Dulas Bay on Anglesey in 1859, taking with it 459 lives and a consignment of Australian gold. Many passengers were said to be weighed down by belts of gold. Treasures were rumoured to have washed up on Porth Alerth beach , making local families rich. Just off Rhossili beach in the Gower Peninsula lies a shipwreck from the 1600’s, nicknamed the Dollar Wreck after Spanish silver dollar coins were recovered from the surrounding sand in 1834. 24 Royal treasures A caravan of King John’s treasure was famously lost to a rising sea in 1216, while he was attempting to cross The Wash between King’s Lynn and Long Sutton. The treasure supposedly includes crown jewels, jewellery and gold coins . What’s it like to find treasure? Paul Coleman was in a Buckinghamshire field in 2014 when his metal detector began to beep. “You can gauge the size of the buried metal by listening to the sound. This was a loud signal, and I could tell the object was quite large, but you can’t really know for sure until you dig.” So Paul began took out his trowel. As he shifted more clay and silt, the anticipation mounted. “The signal seemed to indicate it was getting larger and larger. By the time I had gone to two feet, I could tell that whatever I was about to unearth was huge.” At last, Paul struck metal: a humble lead container. He thought it was junk. But then he spotted the bright coins inside, stacked neatly. Paul had found more than 5,252 silver coins, around 1,000 years old. They bore the faces of their kings: Ethelred the Unready and Canute, who ruled between 978 and 1035. The hoard was unusual partly because the first was an Anglo-Saxon king, the second a Viking; and coins from both are rarely mixed. They were later valued at £1.35 million. The secret of treasure hunting Paul’s success didn’t come overnight. “Forty years,” he says. “I’ve been doing this for that long.” Unsurprisingly, he says that perseverance is the key to metal detecting. “If you put enough time in, you’ll get lucky – you’ll find something really interesting” Detectorist Paul Coleman pictured at the unveiling of the hoard at the British Museum in 2015. Picture: Getty Images The waiting, he reckons, enhances the joy of making a find. “Like angling, or cricket, very little happens for a long time and then you get the big reward. And the time between those moments increases the anticipation.” Peter Welch runs the 1,000-strong Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club, and was at the scene with Paul when he found the hoard. “Lots of people try detectoring and get disappointed quite quickly when it turns out that it’s not a path to instant riches, that they have to put in the time walking up and down fields,” he says. The real reward Some detectorists argue, though, that the real treasure of detectoring is time spent in the countryside. “People who have taken up and continued detecting tend to appreciate the value of just being outdoors,” says Steve Critchley, a member of the UK’s National Council for Metal Detecting. Peter agrees: “Some of us are there really to relax, and swinging a metal detector provides a purpose for a walk in the country.” For Lance and Andy, the main characters in Detectorists, the pleasure of each other’s company is also part of the attraction – although of course they would never say so. But surely all that fruitless wondering gets a little… dull? Paul is adamant: “It’s never boring because, like fishing, it’s the quiet times that make that lucky catch worthwhile.” Just as well, because there’s no guarantee of success, no matter how long you spend looking. “People think I’ve achieved something big,” says Pail, “but it’s just a stroke of luck, really.” Comedy gold: Lance (Toby Jones) and Andy (Mackenzie Crook) appear in Detectorists, BBC4’s comedy about two Essex enthusiasts'
While they may seem a harsh habitat, Britain's sand dunes are teeming with wildlife, including hardy wildflowers, bees and butterflies. Here's our expert guide on the best sand dunes to visit in the UK and wildlife to spot.
'There are few places that are as exhilarating to walk through as our UK coastal sand dunes, accompanied by the sounds of the tide lapping on the shore. But, take a moment to look down at your feet and you’ll find these dunes are home to a wide variety of wildflowers, insects and birds. Here is our expert guide to sand dunes in the UK, including the wildest dunes to visit and best wildlife to spot. What is a sand dune and how is it formed? Towering dunes, sometimes more than 60 feet tall, begin life as grains of wave-worn sand and seashell fragments. These are blown along the beach until they become trapped among plants that grow above the strandline, such as the beautiful lilac-flowered sea rocket. The striking spiny purple-blue flowers of sea holly glow in the dunes at Godrevy beach in Cornwall (Photo by: David Chapman via Alamy) Grassy plants such as sand couch and marram grass have deep fibrous roots that slowly bind the sand together, while more grains become trapped among their leaves that grow fast and resist burial. The lofty yellow dunes that form over time have shifting ridges that are among the harshest habitats for plant life, but coastal specialists thrive here, including sea holly and the trailing stems of sea bindweed. More related content: Britain’s best beaches Guide to British seabirds: how to identify and where to see them Coastal flowers guide: how to identify Best sand dunes to visit in the UK It is possible to explore sand dunes along much of the UK coastline, with these seemingly harsh habitats providing a haven for wildlife. Here’s our pick of the wildest sand dunes to visit in Britain: Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve , Northumberland Dune slacks are home to 11 species of orchid, including the unique Lindisfarne helleborine. When visiting, take care to check safe times for crossing the tidal sands. Sand dunes in Lindisfarne national nature reserve, Budle Bay, Northumberland coast, England, UK. (Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) Braunton Burrows , North Devon This is the second-largest sand dune system in the UK, covering 1,000 hectares with all stages of dune development. It’s also h ome to 33 species of butterfly and 470 species of flowering plant. Braunton Burrows, Sand dunes, North Devon, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (Photo by: myLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) Holkham National Nature reserve , North Norfolk There are natterjack toads here; it’s also an important breeding location for little terns and ringed plovers, nesting close to the strandline. Look out for grayling butterflies and sand wasps in the fixed dunes. The sand dunes at Holkham beach are home to a number of different coastal animals, including Ringed Plovers Kenfig National Nature Reserve , Glamorgan, South Wales An orchid-enthusiast’s delight, with species that include pyramidal orchids, marsh helleborines and autumn lady’s-tresses. The dunes also support some rare fungi, including winter stalkball – like a puffball fungus on a stalk. This footbridge over the River Kenfig (Afon Cyffnig) connects Kenfig Natonal Nature Reserve and the Margam Moors (Photo by: eswales via Geograph) Forvie National Nature reserve, Aberdeenshire, Scotland One thousand hectares of dunes on the edge of the North Sea, hosting a large breeding population of sandwich terns. Dunes grade into flowery coastal heathland teeming with insects. Forvie National Nature Reserve is renowned for its birds and has a number of different trails to explore (Photo by: Arterra via Getty Images) Portstewart Strand, Londonderry, Northern Ireland Some of Northern Ireland’s tallest dunes on the edge of the Bann River estuary. Rabbit-grazed fixed dunes covered in a tapestry of bird’s foot trefoil, wild thyme and dune pansies, with pyramidal and bee orchids. East Head , West Wittering, Sussex Ringed plovers nest just above the sand dunes and skylarks breed among the marram grass in this dune system on the edge of Chichester Harbour. East Head Beach, West Sussex, captured at dusk in Autumn (Photo by: Barcroft Media via Getty Images) Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature reserve , Kent This is Kent Wildlife Trust’s largest reserve, a mosaic of coastal habitats that include sand dunes with sea holly, and fixed dunes that host rare lizard orchids and fragrant evening primrose. The coastal path through Sandwich and Pegwell Bay NationalNature Reserve, Kent, is home to a stretch of Lizard Orchids (Photo by: Robin Webster via Geograph.) The golden rules for visiting dunes • Always stick to obvious footpaths or boardwalks – these minimise the erosive impact of passing feet • Pay heed to signs warning visitors away from sensitive areas – here, marram grass replanting has often taken place, or seabirds may be nesting • Be mindful of your pets – some of our rarest breeding birds, such as the little tern and ringed plover, nest along dune edges just inland from the strandine. This is their home, and unruly dogs can ruin their chances of nesting successfuly • Steer clear of ‘dune surfing’ – it’s so tempting to slide down the loose sand on the seaward-side slopes of high dunes, but this can open it up to scouring winds that will whisk away what nature has taken many decades to build and bury the rich fixed-dune biodiversity Best wildlife to spot in sand dunes It’s hard to imagine a more perfect place to picnic than in the sun-drenched, sheltered hollows of a sand dune, so settle down amongst grayling and common blue butterflies, serenaded by the sounds of grasshoppers and stonechats, and watch lizards hunting insects. This part of the dune system is home to a fascinating array of unusual species, including burrowing sand wasps that hunt caterpillars and day-flying crimson-and-black burnet and cinnabar moths. A ringed plover with its one-day-old chick, nesting amongst the marram grass 1 Sand lizard, Lacerta agilis One of our rarest and most beautiful reptiles, it digs narrow tunnels in dunes for winter hibernation. The flanks of courting males turn bright green in spring. It buries its eggs in sand, in sheltered dune hollows, where the eggs depend on the sun’s warmth for incubation. Habitat destruction has meant the sand lizard is one of the Uk’s rarest reptiles 2 Autumn lady’s-tresses, Spiranthes spiralis The last native orchid to flower, and unmistakable with its six-inch-tall spikes of white florets twisted in a spiral, like braided hair. It cannot survive competition from tall grasses, so look for it in the short, flowery turf in fixed dunes. 3 Grayling butterfly, Hipparchia semele Our largest brown butterfly, but surprisingly difficult to spot when it settles and quickly closes its wings, thanks to the cryptic colouring of its undersides. The caterpillars feed on various grasses, including marram. Grayling butterflies can be found all over Europe, but are particularly common in coastal areas 4 Sea rocket, Cakile maritima Produces seeds in buoyant pods that act as lifeboats and are carried by sea currents, then wash up to germinate on the strandline. Fleshy leaves and masses of lilac flowers attract bees and butterflies, while the plant traps windblown sand and begins building dunes. Plantlife in sand dunes can be easily disrupted by visitors if paths are not used 5 Hound’s-tongue, Cynoglossum officinale A tall, hoary-leaved biennial, often growing in the fixed dunes. Flowers the colour of dried blood are often described as smelling of mice, although Richard Mabey likened their aroma to roasted peanuts. Its hooked seeds are dispersed in rabbit fur. 6 Pyramidal orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis With its densely-packed pyramids of pink flowers, young inflorescences resemble small strawberry ice-cream cones. Most commonly found between marram and lyme grass, where yellow and fixed dunes merge. Flowers have long, slender nectar spurs and a slightly foxy scent at dusk, attracting long-tongued moth pollinators. Pyramidal Orchids appear in a variety of shades along coastal paths, ranging from light lilac to vibrant pink (Photo by: Tim Graham via Getty Images) 7 Stonechat, Saxicola rubicola This robin-sized bird likes to perch on the highest bushes in the dunes, flicking its wings then darting down to the ground to catch insects. It sometimes nests in the protection of prickly gorse bushes in the dune scrub. Its call sounds like two stones being tapped together. Stonechat birds are found more widely in winter and have short robin-like tails 8 Sand wasp, Ammophila sabulosa Hunts caterpillars, which it paralyses then carries back to its nest hole excavated in the sand to feed its developing larva when it hatches. The wasp temporarily closes the nest tunnel until fully provisioned with prey, then seals it with mud. Red banded sand wasps are found all over Britain, but are more common in southern England (Photo by: Education Images via Getty Images) Sand dune plants to spot Walk a little further inland and you’ll find fixed dunes. Here the soft sand becomes firmer, and the tang of salty air and seaweed gives way to the aroma of wild thyme underfoot. These areas are often encrusted with grey lichen and drought-tolerant mosses, which are s tabilised by a tapestry of ground-hugging wildflowers. Look out for: Kidney vetch – small yellow flowers that flower between June and September, often appearing fluffy and in clusters Look down! Kidney vetch flowers are usually found close to the ground, and often appear wooly (Photo by: De Agortini Picture Library via Getty Images) Biting stonecrop – these are also yellow in colour but star-like in shape, and flower between May and July Biting stonecrop is traditionally found on well-drained ground such as sand dunes or shingles (Photo by: De Agortini Picture Library via Getty Images) Restharrow – this perennial has pinky-lilac petals, is greasy to touch, and is most common in the summer months Restharrow plants feature small pink petals and thrive in chalk and limestone grasslands (Photo by: Flower Photos via Getty Images)'
Rare hay meadow species, including field voles, painted lady butterflies, barn and tawny owls, are thriving once again on land previously owned by Beatrix Potter in the Lake District.
'According to a National Trust survey, three hay meadows belonging to Hill Top Farm have been restored to become a wildlife haven. Formerly rare species are now thriving in the meadows – which provided the author with inspiration for her much-loved children’s books. Monitoring conducted over 11 acres of the hay meadows found that plants, including eyebright and great burnet, which were once classified as ‘rare’ in the original assessment in the 1990s, are now found in abundance. Flowering plants such as black knapweed, kingcup, oxeye daisy, yellow rattle, red clover and lady’s mantle were also found to be thriving. Yellow rattle found in Hill Top Farm/Credit: The National Trust The meadows also host a diverse range of bees, birds and insects, including painted lady butterflies which migrate from North Africa each year. The meadows were bought by Beatrix Potter in 1909, four years after she purchased Hill Top Farm with the proceeds of her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit , and gifted to the National Trust following her death in 1944. More related content: Meadow guide: where to see and best wildflowers to plant Beatrix Potter: history of the children’s author, farmer and conservationist Matt Baker: Potter the lakes in pursuit of Beatrix Liz Macfarlane, Collections Manager at Hill Top, said: “Beatrix Potter was hugely inspired by the countryside around her. She had a naturalist’s eye and from an early age was appreciating and recording varieties of flora and fauna. “The colours and scents of the meadows as they appear now would have been very familiar to Beatrix Potter. She took an active role in looking after her land, often rolling up her sleeves to cut the hay.” A field mouse, one of the many species which can be found at Hill Top Farm/Credit: The National Trust The conservation work forms part of the National Trust’s 25-year wildlife restoration project, which aims to reverse the decline in biodiversity that occurred at the site during the two World Wars where the land was used for intensive agriculture to meet the growing demand for home grown food. With the rise of machinery and more efficient ploughing, Beatrix Potter’s land became desolate of wildlife and had the land transformed into fields of turnips and oats instead. Jonny Townmouse, a drawing by Beatrix Potter/Credit: The National Trust Paul Farrington, Area Ranger for the National Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see the hay meadows here at Hill Top in such good health. As well as being beautiful, these meadows provide a huge food and nectar source for hundreds of species of wildlife. “We manage the land using the same traditional practices that would have been used in Beatrix Potter’s day. This includes avoiding artificial fertiliser and cutting the grass later in the summer to allow the plants to flower and set seed.” The loss of traditional hay meadows to agriculture was a common occurrence, with around 97% of hay meadows lost between the 1930s and 1980s. Today there are just 12,000 hectares of hay meadow remaining throughout the UK.'
Relax and enjoy the Rhins' coastline with walks across a stunning landscape, remote beaches and plenty of local wildlife.
'On the south-western tip of Dumfries and Galloway in southern Scotland, a series of spectacular cliffs overlooks the Irish Sea. Snuggled into this idyllic coastline, about a mile north of Portpatrick, are the twin coves of Port Mora and Port Kale. Without vehicle access to the beaches, the only traffic you’re likely to encounter here is the distant glimpse of a ferry sailing between Cairnryan and Larne in Northern Ireland. European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) female with three fawns in grassland at forest’s edge in summer © Getty Images Ports of call Although the two coves are close together, separated only by a rocky outcrop, there is a stark contrast between the rugged, pebbly shore of Port Kale and the gently sloping sands of Port Mora. In summer, Port Mora is the perfect beach to brave the water for a cooling paddle or even a refreshing swim. Related content On Countryfile this Sunday: Dumfries and Galloway Walk: Mabie Forest, Dumfries and Galloway Discover Dumfries and Galloway Reaching the coves along the coastal footpath is a real pleasure, whether you approach along the clifftops from Portpatrick (about 1.5km to the south) or via Killantringa Lighthouse from the car park at Killantringan Bay (about 2.5km to the north). Both these routes follow the Southern Upland Way along a clifftop track, offering superb views along this dramatic and beautiful section of coast. Submarine phone In the bay, grey seals can be spotted taking advantage of the sheltered waters and, if you head a short distance inland along Dunskey Glen, you may catch a sighting of roe deer in the woodland. Even the stony path leading down into Port Mora, which may seem a harsh environment in which to live, provides the perfect site for bloody cranesbill, a magenta wildflower perfectly at home on the rocky slopes of the southern Scottish coast. Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) mum and her newly born pup lying on the beach ©Getty Strange as it may seem, history was made in this unassuming area of natural beauty. In 1852, the first submarine telephone cable between Scotland and Ireland was laid between Port Kale and Donaghadee on the Irish coast, some 27 miles away. The old cable house, a strange hexagonal building, still stands on the edge of the cove. Port Mora and Port Kale may require a bit of effort to reach, but the secluded tranquillity of the bay and its surroundings makes it well worthwhile.'
Explore the island of Anglesey on this three-mile easy walk across a remote stretch of Anglesey's north coastline. Look out for seals, porpoises and bottlenose dolphins as you stroll through Anglesey's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
'Th e isolated, sandy beach of Taeth yr Ora lies midway between the villages of Benllech and Amlwch on the north-east coast of Anglesey. The cove can only be accessed by foot or boat, meaning few people venture to this remote spot. Sheltered by small headlands, it is a fantastic place for swimming, exploring or just relaxing on a sunny afternoon. Bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Lligwy Bay, Anglesey ©Getty The easiest approach is to follow the coast path from the southern car park at Traeth Lligwy, where there is a small café. Along the way, look out to sea for seals, harbour porpoises, bottlenose dolphins and seabirds, such as cormorants and guillemots. Meanwhile, yellowhammers, stonechats and whitethroats frequent the fields and bushes alongside the path. Traeth Lligwy, Anglesey ©Getty 1 Island beacon From the car park, head north-west towards a coast-path signpost. Walk through the dunes to a small footbridge, emerging at another car park. Cross it to a sign warning about sinking sand at the northern end of Traeth Lligwy. More related content: Guide to Anglesey: best places to visit and coastal walks Jules Hudson explores where to visit, stay and eat in Anglesey Walk: South Stack, Anglesey The waymarked coast path now climbs onto low cliffs, crossing a little footbridge at a gully before following a fairly level path. Beyond another bridge and a former lookout, you will arrive at a viewpoint on Trwyn Porth-y-môr, where you can gaze east to Great Orme near Llandudno. To the north, about a mile offshore, lies Ynys Dulas island. Its tower was built in 1821 as a beacon to warn of the hazardous rocks and also as a refuge for shipwrecked sailors. A fireplace with kindling was provided as well as drinking water, brandy and biscuits. The island is now home to a seal colony. Ynys Dulas island, Anglesey ©Getty 2 On to Ora Continuing on the coast path, you will soon descend to cross the shingle shores of Porth y Môr. Ignore a kissing gate on the left and walk along the back of the beach to join a path alongside the fence. Go through the next kissing gate, then cross a field to a corner kissing gate that gives access to steps leading down to Traeth yr Ora. Cormorants spotted in Porth y Môr, Anglesey 3 Headland heights After enjoying time on the beach, ascend steps to a bench. From here, you can take a worthwhile diversion on to the northern headland where you will be rewarded with views of Dulas Bay. Go through the nearby kissing gate, then pass more gates on the right and an information board about public access. Walk anticlockwise around the headland to a stile near a pool. Take the little path down to your right, dropping through trees to Traeth Dulas, a peaceful, unspoilt landscape where the Afon Goch creeps through mudflats to the sea. Traeth Dulas, Anglesey (Getty) Return to the bench above Traeth yr Ora, then, instead of revisiting the beach, bear right to follow the coast path to a lane. Turn left, soon enjoying views of the coast as you walk downhill, ignoring a lane on the right, to Traeth Lligwy. Map Click on the OS map below to get an interactive version of the route. Dorothy Hamilton enjoys watching wildlife and taking long walks in the countryside. Read more by Dorothy here .'
Unwind by the sea with our favourite beach cafés, pubs and restaurants
'On a hot summer’s day in Britain, few things can beat a visit to a beachside cafe, pub or restaurant. We’ve picked out some of the best, from the shores of Cornwall to Scotland’s Isle of Skye. 1. The sand Dancer, Sandhaven Beach, Tyneside Promenade terrace at the Sand Dancer pub, Sandhaven Beach ©Getty Back with a new menu and spruced-up interior, this recently reopened seafront pub serves British classics and local seafood from its Crabshack Kitchen. Regular live entertainment and sprawling sea views make this a popular spot with locals. 0191 454 4861 2. Tŷ Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Llyn Peninsula Tŷ Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen on the Llyn Peninsulaa ©Alamy Set in a pretty fishing village on the Llŷn Peninsula, this traditional beach pub has stunning views across the water to the Yr Eifl mountains. The pub can only be accessed on foot, so enjoy a stroll along the sandy beach before visiting Tŷ Coch and drinking in the view. tycoch.co.uk Related articles Britain’s best beaches Enjoy a family day out by the sea Guide to rockpooling 3. The Lobster Pot Restaurant, Dorset The Lobster Pot restaurant and lighthouse on Portland Bill ©Getty In business since 1952, this lovely restaurant located next to Portland Bill Lighthouse serves local seafood, great chips and hearty Dorset cream teas. An ideal spot for birdwatching and coastal walks. lobsterpotrestaurantportland.co.uk 4. The Arcadia, Potrush, Country Antrim The Arcadia is a historic cafe and ballroom on the County Antrim coast ©Alamy Set in an iconic building in the town of Portrush in County Antrim, The Arcadia was once a ballroom but is now used to host events and is home to a lovely coastal café. Soak up sea views with a slab of homemade cake and a pot of tea right next to the beach. The café also has a play area and paddling pool for children. arcadiaportrush.co.uk/cafe 5. Café Môr, Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire Cafe Mor Trailer, Freshwater West ©Alamy Located on a beautiful Pembrokeshire beach, this quirky (and award-winning) solar-powered converted boat-come-shack serves fresh, locally caught seafood, such as sea bass, lobster and crab rolls, and homemade laverbread made from hand-picked seaweed. beachfood.co.uk 6. Stein Inn, isle of skye Stein Inn, Isle of Skye ©Getty Overlooking the shoreline, this rustic 18th-century inn claims to be the oldest on Skye and serves seasonal local produce, including oysters from the island’s waters. stein-inn.co.uk 7. Gylly Beach Café, Falmouth Gylly Beach Cafe, Falmouth ©Getty On the edge of the golden sands of Gyllyngvase Beach, this café is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal with sea views. It serves a selection of local seafood and Cornish produce, and is a pleasant 15-minute walk from Falmouth town centre. gyllybeach.com 8. Hive Beach cafe, Burton Bradstock Hive Beach Cafe interior, Burton Bradstock ©Alamy The café is famed for its superb seafood and fresh fish, but it also offers great coffee, homemade cakes, hearty breakfasts and freshly made sandwiches. During the summer months, you can buy local ice cream at the retro-style parlour. hivebeachcafe.co.uk 9. Wembury Old Mill Cafe, Devon Wembury Old Mill ©Geograph Choose from a variety of homemade cakes and light meals made from local produce at this cute stone café. It’s only a stone’s throw from the beach, but the café has a range of seating suitable for all weathers and, if a picnic in the sun hould take your fancy, a takeaway service is available. The café is reached via a stepped slope, but staff are on hand to help with access when needed. 01752 863280; nationaltrust.org.uk/wembury 10. The Boathouse Tearoom, Stackpole Quay, Pembrokeshire Stackpole Quay cafe ©Geograph Only a few steps from Stackpole Quay’s tiny harbour and 15 minutes’ walk from the magical beach of Barafundle, this tearoom is a magnet for walkers, divers, fishermen, and families spending the day on the beach, drawn to its great menu of local ingredients. 01646 661359; nationaltrust.org.uk/stackpole'