Scottish Western Highlands for avens and parnassia
The beautiful green Isle of Lismore off the west coast of Scotland gets its name from the Gaelic Lios Mor, or Great Garden; this fertile island has an estimated 300 different types of plant with the Grass of Parnassus and mountain avens found in late spring among the highlights. See them on easy walks from HF Holidays' former Bishops House, Alltshellach, a stone's throw from Glen Coe.
Best time to see: late spring
North York Moors for wild daffodils
Every Spring, the 'daffodil dale' of Farndale attracts visitors in the know who visit this lovely part of the North York Moors National Park for a riotous display of wild daffodils. HF Holidays have a base not far away in famous Whitby and offer guided walks there to coincide with this amazing spectacle.
Best time to see: late March
Lake District or Brecon Beacons for bluebells
Many people have their favourite patches of bluebells but few can rival Loughrigg Terrace, close to Grasmere in the Lake District for its simply magical carpet of blue in early May. Linger among them on walks from HF Holidays' Monk Coniston, a superb National Trust country house close by.
Alternatively Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons National Park offers Coed Cefn wood which has a spectacular May display, the perfect ending to walk up Sugar Loaf from HF Holidays' country house in Brecon itself.
Best time to see: usually second or third week of May
Yorkshire Dales for more wildflowers per square meter than anywhere else
But perhaps the flower walk to top them all is early haytime through the fields just north of Muker in Swaledale in Yorkshire. Here there are more wildflowers per square metre than anywhere else you are likely to see in the UK. They include cat’s ear, wood crane’s bill, Lady’s mantle, pignut, and the lovely melancholy thistle.
See these wildflowers on walks from HF Holidays' country house in the quaint book town of Sedbergh, at the foot of the Howgills.
Hay meadows are at their best for a very short time after grazing animals have been excluded and before the hay is ready to be cut.
Best time to see: between late May and early July.
Cornwall for many rare plants
Spring on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall treats walkers to a riot of colour; yellows, oranges, pinks and reds. The area is home to many rare plants including Spring Squill, Bloody Cranesbill, Burnet Rose, Spring Sandwort, and even wild asparagus. The perfect walk to appreciate this stunning spectacle is a section of the South West Coast Path, from Mullion, to picturesque Mullion Cove, and the serpentine rocks of Kynance Cove. The finale has to be the carpet of colour on Lizard Head itself.
Best time to see: second half of May
Cotswolds for orchids
Gentle countryside walks along the Windrush Valley, or south of Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds are famous for their orchids. HF Holiday's country house in the picture postcard village of Bourton-on-the-Water is perfectly placed to enjoy them.
Best to see: early to mid June
Special offer on HF Holidays holidays for Saga readers
HF Holidays is the UK’s largest walking and leisure activity holidays provider. The co-operative society that has been organising outdoor holidays for over 100 years has 19 country houses in the UK’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty. Holidays start at just £299 per person including full board accommodation, services of walks leaders and the choice of up to three walks a day.
Saga has teamed up with HF Holidays to exclusively offer you a free outdoor walking kit – including a £20 voucher from Rohan clothing and an Ordnance Survey Map or a Travel Guide – with every walking holiday. You can also save up to £100 on UK guided walking holidays. See www.hfholidays.co.uk/saga for more information.