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30 Days Wild challenge in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 10:35 06 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:35 06 June 2017

Chalkhill blue, a grassland specialist

Chalkhill blue, a grassland specialist

hmwt

With nature bursting out all over this month, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is calling on us all to do something wild each day

River Mimram at Tewinbury (photo: Tim Hill)River Mimram at Tewinbury (photo: Tim Hill)

This month Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is encouraging everyone to go wild in the county. 30 Days Wild is a challenge designed to bring people closer to nature and feel happier and healthier. Participants are challenged to do one wild act a day throughout June. Anyone can take part and those who register will receive a pack full of great ideas and ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ – anything that you can do in an average day to bring a little nature into your life. They can take a few seconds, a few minutes, or if you lose yourself completely, a few hours!

Hertfordshire is a fantastic place to be this month, as it is bursting at the seams with wildlife. From our rare chalk rivers and grasslands to our shimmering wetlands and magical woodlands, you won’t be at a loss for places to go if you fancy venturing somewhere new.

Meander the Mimram

Banded demoiselle are among the many species of dragonfly and damselfly at Amwell Nature Reserve (photo: ShaftInAction/iStock)Banded demoiselle are among the many species of dragonfly and damselfly at Amwell Nature Reserve (photo: ShaftInAction/iStock)

We are lucky enough to have many chalk streams in Hertfordshire. These habitats are incredibly important, due to their global rarity, unique ecology and threatened status. There are no more than 200 in the world, with 180 of these in England. The river Mimram is a fine example. Head to Tewinbury Nature Reserve near Welwyn GC to see the crystal waters of the river and the wildlife it attracts. Watch out for the kingfisher’s flash of blue or the elusive water vole.

Wander through wildflowers

Visit Frogmore Meadow Nature Reserve near Chenies on the eastern border with Bucks and you will enjoy one of the finest wildflower meadows in the county. Wildflowers thrive on unimproved neutral grassland. Now a very scarce habitat in the UK, it has suffered an estimated 95 per cent decline in the last century.

A scarlet waxcap (photo: shellhawker, Getty Images/iStockphoto)A scarlet waxcap (photo: shellhawker, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The reserve is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and has a very good range of grasses and flowers such as yellow rattle, greater birdsfoot trefoil, fen bedstraw, marsh thistle and ragged robin. The drier and more acidic parts of the meadow support betony, devil’s bit scabious and, in the autumn, vibrantly coloured waxcap fungi. Among this fantastic variety of beautiful flowers, look out for all the wildlife it attracts, from lovely butterflies to busy bees.

Discover dragons

Amwell Nature Reserve near Ware is one of the best spots in the county to see dragonflies. The dragonfly trail is open from May to September and gives an opportunity to see species such as the hairy dragonfly, red-eyed damselfly and southern hawker close up and hunting over open water. All 19 species of dragonfly and damselfly resident in Hertfordshire have been recorded here, making this the county’s best site for these remarkable insects. The reserve is a former gravel pit in the Lee Valley and along with being a great place to spot dragonflies, it also supports internationally important numbers of wintering wildfowl, along with outstanding communities of breeding birds.

Bask with butterflies

When the English sun shines, there’s nowhere better to be. Luckily Herts’ resident butterflies feel the same. Our chalk grassland draws in specialist butterflies, such as chalkhill blue. If you visit the trust’s Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve in the west of the county on a warm summer day, you’re sure to be rewarded with clouds of delicate fluttering beauties. The reserve is one of the finest butterfly habitats in Hertfordshire with species such as marbled white, meadow brown, ringlet, dark green fritillary, small blue and Essex skippers, to name just a few.

To sign up to 30 Days Wild and receive a fun family, school or business activity pack, visit wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild or call 01727 858901. Share your experiences with thousands at #30DaysWild

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