Best places to hear a nightingale sing in spring

The song of a nightingale is one of the most celebrated bird songs in the world, and you can hear it in the UK for a brief period in spring - our guide to the best places to hear a nightingale sing this spring

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What could be more romantic than a spring trip to hear that most celebrated of songsters, the nightingale? Happily, it isn’t difficult to organise so long as you live in the south of England, especially the south east.

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Check the field trip schedule of almost any wildlife society from Dorset to Norfolk between April and June and there is bound to be at least one dedicated nightingale trip.

Nightingales sing day and night, but evenings have glamour. Avoid windy conditions, but rain shouldn’t hinder the performance too much.

Where to hear nightingales in the UK

1. Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex

Pulborough Brooks is set in the sheltered Arun Valley within the South Downs National Park.

The Visitor Centre and reserve is open all year and boasts a great variety of habitats including wetlands, woodland, and heathland. Pulborough Brooks is a haven for a wide range of wildlife, and a fantastic day out for people of all ages.

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2. Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire

Paxton Pits Nature Reserve is a rich mosaic of wildlife habitats covering, at present, 78 hectares of lakes, riverside, meadow, reedbed, scrub and woodland, situated in the Great Ouse valley between St Neots and Huntingdon. The Reserve is famous for its nightingales and cormorants, and is host to a wide variety of other birds, insects, mammals and flora.

3. North Warren, Suffolk

The delightful North Warren reserve contains grazing marshes, reedbeds, heathland and woodland. Thousands of ducks, swans and geese use the marshes in winter, while spring brings breeding bitterns, marsh harriers, woodlarks and nightingales. Look out for the many species of butterflies and dragonflies.

4. Swillbrook Lakes, Wiltshire

Swillbrook Lakes are a nature reserve created from exhausted gravel pits and is now a wildlife haven. A mass of shallow pools provide ideal conditions for dragonflies and damselflies. In spring it is a haven for warblers and nightingales – as well as hunting hobbies in summer.
 

5. Blean Woods, Kent

Lying between the cathedral city of Canterbury and the towns of Faversham, Whitstable and Herne Bay, The Blean is one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in England – over 11 square miles. The woods have been shaped by local people for over a thousand years. Today, our woodsmen and conservation teams continue to manage this unique landscape, rich in wildlife, that we enjoy today.