Day Trips 2023 - Trips are a great way to improve your knowledge, meet like minded people and learn all important field skills to help you increase your enjoyment of nature. Groups are accompanied by 2 guides, and all trips are fully insured and risk assessed. Prices are based on meeting at site, although free lifts are available from Pontypool (NP4 6RR). We can also help facilitate car sharing. All participants receive full joining instructions including comprehensive directions, and a full trip report including photographs. Trips are for 6 to 12 people and require a minimum of 4 attendees to run. Our standard price is £50 for full day trips (typically 5 hours) and £30 for a half day trips (typically 2.5 hours).
Saturday 13th May - Butterflies of Merthyr Mawr (target species Grizzled & Dingy Skipper)
Merthyr Mawr Nature Reserve, Bridgend CF32 0ND - Half Day, 9.30am to 12pm - £30pp*
This SSSI nature reserve offers a fantastic range of habitats with undulating sand dunes, areas of woodland and scrub resulting in wildlife diversity that make Merythr Mawr such a special place. This half day guided nature walk will explore the dunes, hopefully enjoying a variety of butterfly species including the locally scarce Grizzled Skipper. The Grizzled Skipper is a small moth-like butterfly with a fast, darting flight pattern when it's not basking on bare ground. Other species we'll look out for include Dingy Skipper, Common Blue and Brown Argus, plus birds and wild flowers such as Dune Pansy that we may encounter along the way. The path will be undulating and predonimantly on sand so a good level of fitness is required and long trousers are recommended due to some of the spikey scrub plants.
We are proud to offer this trip in partnership with Between The Trees who host their annual festival at Merthyr Mawr, 25th to 27th August 23.
*Up to two children can attend free of charge with one full paying adult.
Saturday 20th May - Dragonflies of Monmouth (target Club-tailed Dragonfly)
Meeting at St Peters Church, Monmouth NP25 3SY - 10am - 2.30pm. £40pp
A gentle walk along the River Wye to enjoy a wide range of wildlife including butterflies and birds, maybe catching a glimpse of the Mandarins that breed locally. This full day guided walk will explore the waters edge , looking for the rare Club-Tailed Dragonfly emerging. We'll also walk through a wooded area and up into Dixton Embankment to look at this hughly diverse gem of a nature reserve. We will walk around 5km so a moderate level of fitness is required.
Saturday 10th June - Blaenserchan Colliery Nature Walk (target Small pearl bordered fritillary)
Meeting near Pentrepiod Rd, Pontypool NP4 6RP - Half Day, 10am to 12.30pm - £30pp
We'll explore the range of habitats at this site, enjoying the songs and sounds of a plethora of nesting bird species. With frequent reminders of the site's past, the micro habitats created by spoil and broken bricks provide places for Dingy Skippers to bask in the sunshine. This site is home to Slow worms, Emperor moths, Redstarts, plus many species of butterflies and orchids. The walk will be slow paced with uneven tracks in some places but generally easy walking.
Thursday 15th June - Bernwood Meadows (target Black Hairstreak)
Meeting near Oxford, OX33 1BJ - Full Day, from 10am - £50pp
We'll explore this 19 acre traditional hay meadows site, managed carefully by the local wildlife trust group is has 100 plant species including green-winged orchids, plus a wealth of insects including forester moths. Part of our focus will be on the blackthorn hedges to look for the elusive Black Hairstreak, but undoubtedly enjoying a wide range of other species along the way.
Saturday 17th June - Exmoor Hidden Wildlife (target Heath Fritillary)
Meeting near west of Taunton, TA4 2DT - Full Day, from 10am - £50pp
Exmoor is a stronghold for some of Britain’s rarest butterflies, and careful management has helped to safeguard a diverse range of habitats including the sheltered heathland combes needed for one of our trip focuses, the Heath Fritillary. With a large supporting cast of other butterflies and wildlife that we may see on the day, this beautiful healthland site should have a lot to offer.
Saturday 24th June - Whixhall Moss Nature Reserve (target Large Heath, White Faced Darter)
Meeting near Whitchurch SY13 2QF, approx 3hrs drive from Cardiff - Full Day, from 10am - £50pp
This fantastic reserve has a huge diversity of wildlife to enjoy, including many characteristic bog mosses and plants including the insect-eating round-leaved sundew. Invertebrates are are plentiful with 29 species of dragonfly and damselfly recorded at the site including White-faced Darter. The slightly scary raft spider will accompany a range of butterflies and we'll look for Large Heath, whilst keeping an eye out for a hunting Hobby! This is a large site and will require a fair amount of walking/ standing. Free car sharing available from Pontypool.
Update: July/ August 2023
We won't be running any trips during July and August 2023 due to an opportunity to travel the Alps for an extended period of time in search of butterflies! We will be back for the Between the Trees Festival, talking on Sunday 27th August about "the Journey of the Common Butterfly". We hope to see you there. From late September we'll be releasing a new range of nature trips accompanied by some classroom based courses to improve your idenficiation skills. Watch this space! Roo & Nicky
Please note: All trips are advertised to run on Saturdays but if the weather is prohibitive then we may switch it to the Sunday of the same weekend. Butterfly trips may also be re-scheduled if emergence of the target species is delayed due to temperature/ weather - this is because we pride ourselves in only running trips when there is a good liklihood of seeing what we set out to see. Exclusive, tailored and trips for groups are also available on request.
Every trip recieves a comprehensive Trip Report including photos from your actual trip. See our example report here;
Very knowledgeable & experienced field trip leaders - we saw our first Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies within 10 minutes of leaving the car park! Would highly recommend the field trips organised by Speckled Wood Wildlife.