A WARNING has been made after walkers at one of Northumberland’s most popular beauty spots came face to face with Britain’s only venomous snake last week.

An adder, also known as the Common European Viper, was photographed sunning itself on some grass by members of 1st Framwellgate Moor Scout Group who were walking a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall from Steel Rigg to Sycamore Gap.

Nick Bucknall, who was leading the walk, said: “I knew instantly that it was an adder. I’d seen one when doing my Duke of Edinburgh award in Northumberland around 25 years ago. Our leader at the time pointed out the diamond shape on its back, which this one had. I’ve seen slow worms before but this one was definitely more snake like.

“I asked everyone to keep a safe distance from the snake. As a leader, the group’s safety is of utmost importance, so we didn’t want to get close to it. When it started to move, we’d move away.

“We took every step to alleviate the risk. I was cautious, but I wouldn’t say I was worried at all. We passed on the information to walkers who had dogs that may have been a little more inquisitive than the young people in our charge.”

Though the pictures seem very close, Nick puts this down to the wonders of modern technology. He says: “The zoom on smartphones now is marvellous. I just got some pictures and a video of it slithering away.”

Adders are the only venomous snakes found in the wild in the United Kingdom. They are shy and reclusive, and according to the Wildlife Trusts, “An adder bite is a very rare occurrence, and can be painful, but is almost never fatal.”

Nick says: “I’d advise giving adders a wide berth. Make sure you know their location and pass that information onto anyone in the immediate vicinity.

“Wildlife can be observed, but it should be done from a safe distance. It’s always best to err on the side of caution.”

Most of the 50 – 100 adder attacks that happen each year occur when the small and stocky snakes are picked up or stepped on.

Though bites are unlikely to kill, it’s recommended to immediately seek medical attention if bitten.