Top 10 Spring Wildlife Walks

With wonderful weather drifting our way, we’ve prepared a list of our top 10 springtime wildlife walks from around the UK.

176843970_image-3b742b9
Autumn forest

Whether it’s a foreboding climb with golden eagles in Glencoe or a search for sleepy dormice in Somerset, a substantial dose of spring is our only agenda.

Advertisement

Tweedy-pies…

Glencoe, Scotland

This dramatic glen offers a rugged mountainous challenge, surrounded by rocky juts, mysterious waterfalls, moors and glassy lochs. Rare pine martins, red deer and mountain hares take their place amidst a maze of walks and treks with many climbs for mountaineering folk. Home to the ethereal golden eagle, Glencoe prides itself on housing a wealth of bird life – take a Ranger led Landrover Safari for an off-road tour of the precarious terrain.

 
The sounds of spring…

Minsmere RSPB Reserve, Suffolk

Spanning a stony stretch of the Suffolk coastline Minsmere condenses wetland marshes, coastal lagoons, heathland and woodland all into one reserve. If you fancy an early start then the elevated bird hides increase your chances of spotting eloquent nightingales in the woodland, which sing between April-May, and the elusive booming bitterns which take shelter in the reed beds. Shy otters pepper the reserve and basking adders can be seen at this time of year soaking up the sun close to the sand martins which are nesting in the banks. Explore the Visitor Centre for information on your best route round the reserve, or attend one of Minsmere’s spring events which include a Dawn Chorus (and Breakfast) walk on 17th May and a Bird Watching for Beginners session on 21st May.

185841655-f613f44

Glow worms galore…

Arnside Knott, Cumbria

A landscape sculpted by Glaciers in the Ice Ages, this walk offers stunning views of the Lake District and Morecombe Bay, on the edge of Limestone cliffs. Glow worms illuminate the grass blades in summer evenings and nationally important scotch argus and high brown fritillary butterflies are a spectacle against a flora of grassland, woodland and orchids. It is the perfect time of year to get to know the Arnside and Heathwaite butterfly route and to enjoy the early emerging purple orchids.

Night owls…

Ynys-hir RSPB Reserve, Ceredigion, Wales

As the home of BBC Springwatch for the past three years, Ynys-hir has a full spectrum of plants, birdlife and wildlife. Wood warblers can be heard at this time of year in the woodlands above a carpet of springtime flowers, whilst flycatchers and redstarts flit amidst the nesting boxes. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you can sign up for the Big Wild Sleep Out at Ynys-hir where you will spend a June evening searching for moths, bats, owls and other mysterious nocturnal creatures.

459110777-7db06e1

Dolphins ahoy…

Cubert Wildlife Walk, Cornwall

If you are looking for a longer walk then the National Trust Cubert Wildlife Walk in Cornwall offers six rugged miles of beauty. Holywell bay provides the chance for spotting porpoises, dolphins and basking sharks if you have patience (and maybe a little luck) on your side. Seals also make regular appearances here while buzzards circle overhead inland.

Let’s go fly a kite…

The Chiltern Hills

This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is composed of acres of ancient woodland, chalk streams and grassland walks, perfect for bright spring days. Packed with grasses, wildflowers and blossoms there are plenty of outdoor activities to pursue. Kite flying is a must-do on a breezy spring day and the slopes of Coombe Hill offer the ideal conditions as one of the highest points in the Chilterns.

486862921-45eed65

You can’t tern it down…

Holkham National Nature Reserve and Estate, Norfolk

Stretching the coastline of North Norfolk, Holkham National Nature Reserve, Estate and Beach are extensive and dramatic. Insects whirr in the walled gardens of the estate, deer roam in the lofty parkland and water birds lounge in the lake. Bikes can be hired to explore further, to follow a nature trail or to take a trip to the beach, renowned for its open sandy coastline. Pine woods are met by saltmarshes and sand dunes in the nature reserve, which is home to nesting common and little terns. On Sunday 18th May visitors can book a place one of Holkham Hall’s spring tours of the private gardens for a guided walk around areas that are normally out of bounds.

Bee-autiful bumbles…

Trengwainton Garden, Cornwall

This sheltered garden is bursting to the brim with exotic trees and shrubs from all over the world. Winding wooded paths twist through peaceful pockets of nature, including a perfect picnic spot nestled by the stream and Giant tree fern glades with an eerie Jurassic feel. Having restored their Victorian bee hive, Trengwainton gardeners have even been trained in bee keeping to help do their bit for this essential species, and you will find many of the bees’ favourite plants packed into the gardens.

469538055-fb63b8f

Of special interest…

Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Rutland

Rutland Water, recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, European Special Protection Area and globally important RAMSAR site, is home to over 20,000 water birds. With 31 bird hides and 1000 acres of habitat, there is a good chance of spotting one of the reserve’s Osprey pairs feeding on the reservoir, or water voles which have been reintroduced in the reserve. Equip yourself with the knowledge to attract nature to your own garden by taking part in a Bee Workshop on Gardening for Pollinators which takes place at Rutland Water on 31st May.

Dormice darlings…

Swell Wood, Somerset

Advertisement

Now is the time to visit the 10 mile stretch of Swell Wood which will be home to over 100 breeding pairs of grey herons for the next few months. Swathes of flowers cover the carefully managed woodland and little egrets also nest here alongside sleepy dormice who can occasionally be spied snuggled amongst the hazel. Book in to join Dormice Day on 29th May to learn about the secretive little creatures from an expert, and discover how best to look after the dormouse population.