Culture

Discover the wild plants of the Lizard Peninsula

If you’re looking for a holiday destination which offers plenty to discover this summer, then the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall is well worth a look.

It sits nearly surrounded by the sea, and has a coastline unlike any you’ll find anywhere else in Britain. The rugged, craggy rocks along the coast presented problems to seafarers for centuries, but the modern visitor gets to enjoy the striking spectacle that the rock faces create. The giant cliffs also provide shelter for tiny coves and fishing villages which have remained largely untouched for hundreds of years.

The Lizard (you can drop the ‘Peninsula’ when you’re in the area) is part of the designated Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and many walking routes take you along the coast and into the welcoming quaint villages.

However, it’s not just about sightseeing on the Lizard; botany enthusiasts should definitely put the area towards the top of their list – it’s home to no fewer than 15 of Britain’s rarest plants.

Travel writer Martin Jackson recently made a trip to the Lizard, documenting his walks in the Daily Telegraph. While in winter these rare plants are dormant, come spring they flourish on the cliffs and meadows. To stop and appreciate these wild plants can seriously slow your walking progress, but it’s worth the extra time!

Mr Jackson saw rare species such as fringed rupturewort, land quillwort, hairy greenweed and the flamboyant showy stars orchids. “Then there are the wild relatives of crop plants: sea beet; the scarce wild chives, a whirl of flat, wiry spikes; and the wild asparagus, so rare nationally that it has its own species action plan,” he added.

As well as the rare plants, there are many species of lesser-seen seabirds, while exploring the coast and coves brings you into contact with all manner of interesting geology. If you fancy discovering the Lizard this spring or summer, YHA has a range of hostels in Cornwall for great-value accommodation.

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