The wildlife through the seasons
The ancient countryside provides habitats and protection for a wide variety of wildlife. Migrating birds return year after year and each season is defined by new arrivals and changing scenes. From the swooping skylarks to the wild flowers there is so much nature to behold and a new picture painted by every season.
- The first flowers emerge such as cowslips in grassland and primroses and dog-violets in the woodlands.
- Hares tear madly around the landscape.
- Wheatear stop off on migration and can be seen perched atop fence posts.
- Corn bunting and skylarks in full song establishing and protecting their territories.
- The remnants of ancient grassland and restored grassland can be stippled with colour, the pink of pyramidal orchid and Sainfoin, the yellow of lady’s bedstraw and horseshoe vetch and the blue of field scabious.
- On sunny south facing slopes, common lizards and slow worms bask as butterflies and bees flit from flower to flower and crickets and grasshoppers sing from rough grassland.
- You may see butterflies such as the meadow brown, marbled white and common blue. If you are very lucky you may spot rarer butterflies such as the adonis blue or dark green fritillary.
- The small woodlands turn golden and bronze as the ash and beech leaves turn.
- You may hear the rattling call of the fieldfare and the whistling call of the redwing as they announce their arrival from northern Europe.
- Explore the woodlands for fungi such as King Alfred’s cakes, earth stars and jelly ear. The grasslands can also be a good place to look for miniature forests of toadstools.
- Investigate the hedgerows along the old military railway line and woodland edges for berry rich bushes such as hawthorn, buckthorn, spindle and wayfaring tree.
- Huge skies with dramatic sunrises and sunsets.
- The wind sweeps across the wide open landscape with the majestic bare form of the veteran beech trees on the King Barrow Ridge
- Cultivated fields in the south and east bristling with autumn sown crops and whirling flocks of finches and gulls
- Grassland pasture busy with rooks, jackdaws and starlings probing for food.
- The starlings mass together in large flocks referred to as murmurations before roosting for the night on Salisbury Plain.
- Small herds of roe deer grazing near to woodlands watching warily as you approach.