Month in pictures – June in the countryside

A selection of the month's best photos from the UK countryside

London Colney

June is a great month to be out in the countryside. Our wildflower meadows are full of colour, butterflies are at their most active and our woodlands and forests echo with life.

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From wild goats and tiny river creatures to the Peak District’s must-see sights, we’ve come across some amazing photography while putting together the June 2019 issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine. Celebrate the month with a few of our favourite images.

Canterbury, Kent

Canterbury, Kent
The River Stour runs through Canterbury, Kent ©Alamy

Famous for its medieval cathedral and throng of pilgrims and tourists, Canterbury has a beautiful hidden face – seen only from the Stour. You can walk stretches of this famous chalk river but it is best appreciated by boat as you slip through Venice-like scenes of half-timbered Weavers Houses with mullioned windows overlooking the clear water. You’ll also glimpse the gorgeous gardens of some very fortunate riverside homeowners. 

London Colney, Hertfordshire

London Colney
Poppies and other wildflowers in bloom in a field in London Colney, near St Albans

Poppies, cornflowers and other wildflowers are in bloom in a field near the village of London Colney, in Hertfordshire. Given the chance, many of our lowland fields could look like this but heavy use of fertilisers to promote grass for silage has meant that wildflowers lose out – and so do the insects that rely on them.

Great Diving Beetle

Great Diving Beetle
Great Diving Beetle, dytiscus marginalis ©Alamy

Great diving beetle up to 35mm long, this handsome insect inhabits weedy ponds and lakes. A powerful swimmer that hunts tadpoles and small fish. Female has furrowed elytra; male’s are smooth. The 50mm-long larva has startlingly huge mandibles.

Three-spined stickleback

EBKPG7 three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), swimming, Germany
Three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus ©Alamy

Stickleback –distinctive three dorsal spines and bony armour plating instead of scales. Male develops a red throat and belly over spring and summer and builds a nest for the female to lay eggs in; the male then guards the progeny. Up to 11cm in size.

Bradford River, Derbyshire

Bradford Dale, Derbyshire
The Bradford River in Bradford Dale ©Alamy

Strolling by the river in Bradford Dale, part of the Middleton and Smerrill Parish Sites of Meaning walk; the three standing stones sculpture in Long Dale marks the parish boundary.  

Bakewell, Derbyshire

Bakewell Derbyshire, Peak DIstrict
Bakewell Derbyshire, Peak DIstrict ©Alamy

“It’s Monday morning and market day in Bakewell. I’m having a day off from walking to explore the town. At the cattle market, the auctioneer reels off bids at a breakneck speed. It’s an exhilarating experience even without a sheep or cow to sell. The nearby stalls offer everything from scented soap to work tools. I gather ingredients for a picnic lunch and head for All Saints’ Church – one of the Peak Pilgrimage churches – which sits on the hillside above the honey-hued town.” – Helen Moat on a journey through the Peak District.

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

Haddon Hall Derbyshire
Haddon Hall, Derbyshire ©Alamy

Around Bakewell there are plenty of rainy day options. Drink in the art and glorious gardens of opulent Chatsworth House (chatsworth.org), visit the impressive medieval manor house Haddon Hall (above, haddonhall.co.uk), or discover the working flourmill and café at Caudwell’s Mill in Rowsley (caudwellsmill.co.uk) and its craft shop piled high with tempting wares. 

Red kite

Red kite Milvus milvus
Red kites feed on a variety of carrion, as well as earthworms, rabbits, mice, shrews and voles ©Alamy

Kites look light and buoyant in flight. Their long wings and deep forked tail make them readily separable from buzzards, the most likely bird of prey to be confused with them. Kites soar – they always seem to be looking down at what is beneath them – but they are also extraordinarily manoeuvrable. Watch them rudder their tail and tilt their wings. The metallic hue to their plumage means they catch the sunlight. They are truly dazzling birds. Both sexes look the same but males are slightly smaller than females; neither weighs much above a kilo.

Wild Welsh Feral Goat

Wild Welsh Feral Goat, Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales, UK
Wild Welsh Feral Goat, Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia National Park ©Getty

Until the late 18th century, the only domesticated goat established in this country was the British primitive goat. They were brought to Britain around 5,000 years ago, towards the end of the Stone Age, originally derived from the bezoar (Capra aegagrus), native to the Middle East. Together with sheep and cattle, these were some of the first animals to be domesticated and used in farming. 

Great Dixter, East Sussex

The Long Border at Great Dixter in East Sussex
The Long Border at Great Dixter in East Sussex ©Alamy

The Long Border at Great Dixter in East Sussex, with planting designed by gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd, is a riot of joyous summer blooms. In 1910–12, Edwin Lutyens redesigned the existing 15th-century house and incorporated a 16th-century barn brought from another site, creating a much larger home. 

Common blue

The Common blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus
The Common blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus, is found in the southern counties of England in the summer months ©Getty

True to its name, the common blue buttterfly is Britain’s most widespread blue, found in a variety of grassy habitats. The male, shown here, is brightly coloured, while the female is mostly brown.

Bishop Middleham Quarry, County Durham

Bishop Middleham Quarry, County Durham
Bishop Middleham Quarry, County Durham ©Getty
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Bishop Middleham Quarry is best entered from a lay-by on a narrow road running north out of the village, some eight miles south-east of Durham city. It can also be accessed along a public footpath through Farnless Farm to its south, the fields of which, grazed by American bison and red deer, resemble a miniature prairie.