Wildlife Walks

 

When the flowers bloom and the animals thrive, there is no better showcase of the countryside. Our walking trails place you at the heart of some of the UK's best locations for wildlife and while we can't guarantee that you will see rare or exotic creatures, with a keen eye and surrounded by rich habitats, your walk could become one filled with wildlife experiences that you will never forget.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path


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The spectacular cliff top and coastal scenery of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path make wildlife watching an altogether superb experience.

If you are keen to spot the charismatic Puffin, we recommend spending an extra day in Marloes and taking a boat trip to the nearby islands of Skomer and Skokholm. Here, there are over 10,000 breeding pairs of Puffins, as well as a wealth of other seabirds such as the Manx Shearwater, Guillemots and Razorbills.

Skomer Island is also home to the Skomer Vole, a species that is unique to the island and can be found amongst the bracken. The voles are hunted by Short-eared owls, so you may also witness these amazing hunters as they search for their prey.

The shoreline around Strumble Head and Fishguard is a fantastic place to spot Dolphins and Porpoise, while Ramsey Island, which can be visited by taking a boat trip from St David's, is known for its population of Atlantic Grey Seals.

Other species you may encounter include Otters, which are commonly seen at Bosherston Lily Ponds; Red Kites, now a common sight throughout Wales thanks to reintroduction programs and feeding stations; Wild Ponies around St Bride's Bay; Peregrine Falcons around the cliff tops and countless other coastal birds.

 

Arran Coastal Way


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Lush forests and rugged shoreline make the Isle of Arran a haven for wildlife and as you take in the coastal path, a wildlife encounter is almost guaranteed!

Red Deer are a common sight, both grazing on the hillsides and strolling along the roads and quiet coastal villages while offshore, Common and Harbour Seals bask on the rocks. If you're lucky, you may even spot basking sharks, dolphins, porpoise or Minke Whale. Lochranza, in particular, is a good area to focus your attention if you are looking for these animals.

For the keen-eyed wildlife spotter, Otters can be seen fishing along the shoreline. They are very shy creatures, so patience and quietness is a must. Keep an eye on the beaches for footprints and spraint (their droppings) and then scan the surface of the water for disturbances. Otters are renowned for being elusive, but if you see one, their charm will be a suitable reward!

Finally, there are a number of breeding pairs of the majestic Golden Eagle on Arran. The bird can be seen soaring through the sky while hunting over the mountains and moorland. Many people have spotted Golden Eagles from the distillery in Lochranza.

 

Kintyre Way


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For all of the appeal of island wildlife without leaving the mainland, the Kintyre Way is a perfect choice. Before your walk has even begun, the pretty harbour at Tarbert provides opportunities for spotting wildlife. Dolphins, seals and basking sharks can often be seen in the surrounding waters, while many types of seabirds can be spotted along the coast.

As the trail criss-crosses the peninsula, red deer, roe deer and wild goats are a common sight as they graze the hillsides. Ospreys and buzzards soar through the skies and, if you are lucky, you might spot the majestic golden eagle.

Returning to the coast, common and grey seals can be seen basking on the rocks and for the well trained eye (and with a bit of luck), you may also spot an otter foraging in the seaweed or fishing close by the shore.

Birdlife is abundant and varied with over 400 species recorded on the peninsula including divers, terns, oystercatcher, curlew, kittiwake, gannet, shag, cormorant, fulmars, chough, grouse, peregrine and golden eagle.

 

Pennine Way


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The wide variety of landscapes encountered on the Pennine Way makes it a perfect trail for spotting wildlife, but perhaps the rarest sight can be found at the start of the trail in the Peak District.

The mountain hare, famed for its white winter coat, can usually be found on Shetland, Orkney and the Isle of Man, but the Peak District is the only mainland location outside of Scotland to have a population of these timid creatures. Look out for their blue-grey coat and white tail in areas of moorland.

Other common sights along the Pennine Way may include Red Deer, Kestrels, Buzzards, Red Grouse and in the North Pennines, 80% of England's population of Black Grouse.

 

Norfolk Coast Path


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The Nofolk Coast is one of the richest coastal areas in England and much of it has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its wildlife, reed beds, salt marshes and wetlands.

The Sea Life Sanctuary at Hunstanton is home to a range of species that can be admired closely before you begin your walk upon the trail.

The salt marshes near Brancaster support a diverse range of flora, shorebirds and seals, while Holkham National Nature Reserve, with its extensive sandy beaches, attracts a range of migratory birds, including oystercatchers, redshank and geese.

One of the most impressive locations along the trail is the Blakeney National Nature Reserve and home to one of England's largest colonies of grey and harbour seal. It is an important nesting site for terns and other birds such as Common Terns, Pied Avocets, Reed Warblers, Ringed Plovers, Redshank and Lapwings, attracting birdwatchers from far and wide.