This page is dedicated to the only snake species living very rarely in my local area of the UK.: the adder (Vipera berus). I spend quite a lot of my free time observing these fascinating creatures but since my early days of adder watching when I was still at high school I have changed my methodology completely. Like most, I am guilty of disturbing adders to get that perfect photo from my first outings to look for them years ago, but I have learned that this not how to show your enthusiasm for these creatures and ensure their small populations survive. This means, when I do visit them now that I do not stay long, I do not handle the adders, I do not get too close and make them retreat and usually I just sit back and watch them from a distance. These snakes are rare in my area of the country and there is no doubt that disturbance from photographers is significantly damaging what remains of their incredibly fragmented and fragile populations. In my area I would go as far as to say that adders are rarer than Hen Harriers, Merlins or any other breeding bird of prey by comparison.
If you visit adders can I please encourage you to do so respectfully, take photos by all means but don’t trample their habitat, don’t visit the adders with groups of people or share locations, especially on social media (this includes “habitat shots”). In the 15 years or so I have been watching adders I have seen parts of some populations entirely ruined by people sharing information on the snakes’ locations too freely. This results in previous hibernation sites being unsuitable, usually because too many people are trampling on it and adders moving to less favourable areas and have less breeding success.
Although I have been following the adders in one location in detail since 2010, I will try and document my visits in some more detail in 2017 on this page. By clicking on the dates below you will be directed to the posts I made about adders on those dates. So far I have only included outings from 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Below are some photos taken from the site in recent years.
All photos (C) Matt Wilson