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영국 best 10 국립 자연보호구역 The National Trust
Purple Emperor butterflies, clustered bellflowers and sacred rivers: these have been the captivating world of naturalist, conservationist and author MATTHEW OATES, who has worked as the National Trust’s Specialist on Nature for 27 years. Now, as he prepares to retire, he shares his top-ten places in the UK to see wildlife...
Rodborough Common, Cotswolds
This is my home patch — a huge spur of steep grassy slopes on the edge of Stroud in Gloucestershire, deep in Laurie Lee country (of Cider With Rosie fame).
People walk dogs along the summit paths all year round, drawn by the views across the Severn to the Forest of Dean.
Only a hardy few venture along the steep lower slopes, where rare butterflies and flowers struggle among coarse grasses and invading scrub. In spring, the bolshie males of the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly squabble among themselves in sheltered hollows, their aggressive behaviour a disgrace to the aristocracy.
Only a hardy few venture along the steep lower slopes, where rare butterflies and flowers struggle among coarse grasses and invading scrub
The common is grazed during the brighter months by cattle owned by local farms which hold the grazing rights. But in recent years their numbers have declined and monumental efforts are being made to get more cattle onto the slopes, for the flowers and butterflies depend on them. Without more cattle, Rodborough Common would become a dark and sombre wood of non-native trees like Turkey oak and the evergreen holm oak, and be devoid of flowers and butterflies.
Dovedale, Peak District
This is a world apart, deep in the wondrous White Peak country in dreamy Derbyshire.
The Dove — a sacred river if ever there was one — is slowly cutting itself a gorge through the limestone rocks here. Much of the time, though, it seems asleep, meandering below steep-shelving woods, precipitous grassy slopes studded with ant hills, and crags around which ravens croak.
The Dove — a sacred river if ever there was one — is slowly cutting itself a gorge through the limestone rocks here
The river is everything here — it draws you to it magnetically. Brown trout waver and dart, and in early summer rise to feast on the countless mayflies that fall into the water at eventide. Watching the mayflies is mesmeric. In places, there are stepping stones for children to hop across. They can come to little harm, as the water is shallow, though they may get their feet wet.
All year round there are dippers bibbing and bobbing on streamside rocks, and grey wagtails ghosting by, uttering their metallic, high-pitched call. In spring and summer, redstarts, newly returned from their winter quarters in Africa, nest in holes in old sycamore trees. You can lose yourself here — and be much the better for it.
Murlough Dunes, County Down
This is my favourite place out of many in Northern Ireland. Murlough is a rambling sand dune system, just north of where the dreamscape Mountains of Mourne ‘sweep down to the sea’, in the words of the popular song.
The sand is acidic, which means mauve heathers abound where the sand is stable, along with the ubiquitous marram grass that bends in the stiff onshore breezes.
In June, when the days are long, the dune hollows turn purple with the tiny flowers of heartsease pansy, and yellow with the starburst flowers of birdsfoot trefoil.
This is my favourite place out of many in Northern Ireland. Murlough is a rambling sand dune system, just north of where the dreamscape Mountains of Mourne ‘sweep down to the sea’, in the words of the popular song
Two rare butterflies haunt these hollows: the black and orange marsh fritillary, with its wings the pattern of stained glass windows, and something now called the cryptic wood white. This little butterfly looks exactly like the ordinary wood white found elsewhere in the UK, but has now been separated from its cousin and named as a new species.
Great flocks of brent geese overwinter in Murlough Bay, and at this time of year the shoreline is haunted by huge flocks of lapwings, oystercatchers, golden plovers, dunlins and godwits, all swirling and calling away.
In spring, skylarks ascend over the dunes, singing their song high above our heads.
The Great Orme, North Wales
This is a place of pilgrimage for naturalists: a natural paradise, towering aloof above the holiday resort of Llandudno. Try finding a botanist or a butterfly enthusiast who hasn’t been there, or at least doesn’t desperately want to visit.
It is also on the birders’ radar, with rare cliff-nesting species such as choughs, a member of the crow family with glossy blue-black plumage and a long, curved, blood-red bill.
This is a place of pilgrimage for naturalists: a natural paradise, towering aloof above the holiday resort of Llandudno
Seabirds nest here, too, including guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes, which breed on the narrow ledges, jostling each other for prime position.
Bat, beetle, lichen, moss, moth and marine wildlife enthusiasts also revere the Great Orme, as do geologists, geographers and archaeologists.
But, above all, this is a botanists’ paradise, full of rare plants with esoteric names such as spiked speedwell, spotted cat’s-ear, Welsh hawkweed and wild cotoneaster.
The Great Orme is also the finest example of ‘limestone heath’ in the UK, a rare type of vegetation in which acid-loving heathers grow on limestone rocks and among lime-loving plants.
Purple Emperor butterflies, clustered bellflowers and sacred rivers: these have been the captivating world of naturalist, conservationist and author Matthew Oates, who has worked as the National Trust’s Specialist on Nature for 27 years
In midsummer, on bright, sunny days, parts of the Orme swarm with tiny blue butterflies — the local race of the silver-studded blue. You won’t see a butterfly in greater profusion anywhere in the British Isles.
The limestone crags, where sure-footed feral goats hang out, also support a unique, dwarf race of the grayling butterfly. The grey rock dominates, and in dry summers the grasslands also turn grey, making the place feel almost Mediterranean. In June, the short grassland is yellow with birdsfoot trefoil and rockrose flowers, while in high summer the aptly named bloody cranesbill appears on many of the slopes.
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
Heaven and Earth meet here. Behind, is a long whaleback of downland, which turns grey, then brown, in summer drought and is grazed by a herd of Galloway cattle. These downs give way to spectacular white cliffs, where peregrine falcons — the fastest living creature on the planet — patrol, and rare plants such as hoary stock grow.
The ridgetop path offers deeply memorable views, while the bay provides wondrous sunsets.
Heaven and Earth meet here. Behind, is a long whaleback of downland, which turns grey, then brown, in summer drought and is grazed by a herd of Galloway cattle
Below, there are sandy cliffs which steadily crumble away into the shoreline, providing fresh sand for the best beach on the Isle of Wight (and the standard is high).
Rare plants, beetles, bees and Glanville fritillary butterflies breed on the warm, sparsely vegetated cliff face. At low water, a relic fossil forest and dinosaur footprints can be seen. Farmland birds, such as skylarks, linnets and yellow-hammers, abound.
Dunkery Beacon, Somerset
The domed, heathery top of Dunkery Beacon, with its distinctive pepperpot cairn, always feels too bleak for me — a monoculture of windswept heather. It is the highest point on Exmoor, haunted by plaintive meadow pipits. But the steep-sided, sheltered combes below the summit are magical and welcoming, with a warm microclimate. They have wonderful ancient names such as Allercombe, Sweetworthy (pronounced Sweetery), Halse Combe and Hanny Combe.
The steep-sided, sheltered combes below the summit are magical and welcoming, with a warm microclimate
Best of all is Bin Combe, a lonely pathless place, with a tumbling moorland stream, wild bilberries, rare heath fritillary butterflies and circling buzzards overhead.
The National Trust owns a huge estate here, of moorland, woodland, vale farmland, cliff and coastline, farmsteads and thatched cottages. This place wants time to stand still, and to grant it the eternity it deserves.
Brandreth & Grey Knotts, Lake District
I love the high fell tops above and to the south of Honister Pass. I always take the easy route, parking at the youth hostel and going up the old mining tramway to Fleetwith Pike, where I can wander aimless and free.
I must confess that I come here only in midsummer, when grey Herdwick ewes and their black lambs graze the carpet of mat-grass
I usually make a special pilgrimage to Innominate Tarn, below Haystacks. For Alfred Wainwright, who wrote the classic guides to the Lakes, this was his favourite place in the world — and it’s certainly one of mine. I must confess that I come here only in midsummer, when grey Herdwick ewes and their black lambs graze the carpet of mat-grass.
Yellow tormentil flowers and patches of wild thyme jewel the turf, ring ouzels and wheatears call distantly, and dark mountain ringlet butterflies blunder about in the breeze. Everywhere are little peaty pools, reminding me that rain is seldom far away.
Hod Hill, Dorset
This Iron Age hill fort above the River Stour, near Blandford Forum, has impressive fortifications with deeply incised ramparts. The Romans conquered it, constructing their own distinctive fort in the north-west corner. History and nature come together here rather wondrously.
This Iron Age hill fort above the River Stour, near Blandford Forum, has impressive fortifications with deeply incised ramparts
It is a place of rising skylarks, lowering skyscapes and impressive archaeological features. I once found a corn bunting’s nest in a tussock of grass at the foot of an old fence post — and everything seemed right with the world.
The White Cliffs Of Dover, Kent
This part of England is where chalk cliffs stare out across the Channel to hazy France. The first port of call for many visitors is the National Trust’s Langdon Cliffs centre, set in what was once a series of massive gun emplacement bays above the port of Dover.
Many walk the mile-long clifftop path to Mrs Knott’s tearooms in the old South Foreland Lighthouse. The walk is breathtaking, and in spring and autumn offers glimpses of passing swallows and other migrant birds, while fulmars, kittiwakes and ravens hug the brilliant cliffs below.
This part of England is where chalk cliffs stare out across the Channel to hazy France
The rough grasses pulsate with insects and the path edges are lined with flowers.
History is everywhere, much of it military and relatively modern: gun emplacements, deep shelters, the Dover Patrol Monument, Shakespeare Cliff and, of course, Dover Castle.
On calm summer days, Battle of Britain aircraft can be seen overhead. Best of all, it is often cloudy inland, but cloudless along this unique shoreline.
Arnside Knott, Cumbria
People fall deeply in love with this partly-wooded limestone hill above the small town of Arnside, downstream of Kendal. It has a unique feel about it, and offers some of the best sunsets in Britain, with broad vistas over the Lakeland fells.
The Knott is criss-crossed by a labyrinth of grey scree paths, which meander through shady woodland and out into grassy or heathery glades. It takes years to get to know it properly, and even then the place surprises you.
People fall deeply in love with this partly-wooded limestone hill above the small town of Arnside, downstream of Kendal
If I could afford a second home, mine would be near here, perhaps in the village of Silverdale.
In terms of wildlife, this is where north and south meet, and embrace each other. Some species, such as the southern wood ant, are on the northern limits of their UK range. Others, such as the Scotch argus butterfly, are on the southern limit of theirs.
Matthew Oates’ latest book, Beyond Spring: Wanderings Through Nature, is published by Fair Acre Press.
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