General safety advice

Preparation and things to take when you go out When you go out to enjoy the countryside, always take the following in your pocket: Tick remover tweezers. Tick remover tweezers are also ideal for removing bee stingers, hairy caterpillars and thorns. Disinfectant wipes. Any cut, sting or injury should be disinfected as soon as possible … More General safety advice

Parsnip plant

What does it look like?  Why is it dangerous? Handling the parsnip plant (Pastinaca sativa), which grows wild and is cultivated in gardens in allotments may make your skin very sensitive to light leading to burning, blisters and a painful rash. The problem seems to be the plant’s sap which contains chemicals called furoumarins. These … More Parsnip plant

Poisonous plants

What does it look like? Yew Chrysanthemums Deadly nightshade Hemlock Water Dropwort Snowdrops Mistletoe Daffodil bulbs Berries Why is it dangerous? Around 75% of the plants in an average English garden or the countryside are toxic to some extent. Most of them are only mildly toxic and can cause rashes or tummy aches which are … More Poisonous plants


What does it look like? A wide variety of plants found in the British countryside have thorns that can scratch or tear the skin and cause bleeding. They include: wild roses or briars, raspberries which grow in upright “canes” blackberry bushes, also known as brambles, which form vast messg clumps often entwined among other plants … More Thorns

Giant hogweed

What does it look like? Giant hogweed can grow up to five metres tall, often along footpaths and riverbanks.  Why is it dangerous? If the sap of the plant comes into contact with your skin, it can cause severe, painful burns and make your skin sensitive to strong sunlight. How can I avoid it? Learn … More Giant hogweed

Stinging nettles

What does it look like? Stinging nettles are low, small leaves which often grow alongside country paths, or in large patches spreading over a large area of the ground in forest or wooded areas. They have relatively anonymous looking leaves so it is important to pay attention to plants as you walk close to them. … More Stinging nettles

Deer and Cows

What does it look like? Deer Cows Why is it dangerous? Some people are unaware that cows can very aggressive in spring and summer when they have calves to protect, and that cows will stampede as a herd if they feel any of their number is in danger. More people have been killed by cows … More Deer and Cows


What does it look like? The one poisonous snake in Britain is the Adder. It is recognisable by the black, zig-zag edged strips along its entire back and its red eyes with a vertical slit. Why are they dangerous? Most of the snakes in Britain are fairly harmless. Even though their bites can hurt a … More Adders

Biting spiders

What does it look like? False widow spider False widow spider: They grow to 2 centimetres across and are a dark brown colour with a bulbous abdomen. This spider has a well-deserved reputation as Britains most dangerous spider, although there are no reported deaths and bites are quite rare. Adult female false widow spiders are known to … More Biting spiders