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Published on : 19th November 2020

Top Trails for Birding, Nature and Wildlife in the UK

If you are looking for scenic landscapes and natural habitats for wildlife while you are out rambling, then we have got you covered. The United Kingdom is full of a range of trails, many off the beaten path, that even if you walk them regularly you will find a secluded corner or two you have never seen, tucked away somewhere on every trip.

However, if you are simply looking for information on the best treks, sites like Trek addict can be an excellent resource. In this post, we also highlight the birds, animals, and plants you are likely to see during different times of the year and the related geographical facts along the way.

uk wildlife and birding trails

Cumbria Way

They say if you reside in the UK and are a nature enthusiast, then Cumbria is the only county which has everything from beauty, variety, to an abundance of wildlife. No matter where you walk on the Cumbria Way, this beautiful corner of North England will surprise you with wildlife around every turn.

Home to the Lake District National Park there are more native woodlands and trees growing here than any other upland National Park of Great Britain. The low population and varied geology have resulted in many rare species being spotted here, and if luck is on your side you can spot any or all of these during your visit.

  • Red Squirrel
  • Red Deer
  • Otters
  • Herdwick Sheep
  • Osprey
  • Golden Eagle
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Kestrel

Snowdonia

snowdonia

Stunning landscape of Snowdonia

Snowdonia is not only synonymous with hiking as it’s windswept uplands and high mountains have made it a natural habitat for thousands of species of flora and fauna, some of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Forces of nature and human activities have together produced an inspiring shelter for some of these rare animals which have made Snowdonia their home.

  • Lesser horseshoe bat.
  • Pine Marten
  • Chough
  • Twite
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Freshwater Pearl Mussel
  • Glutinous Snail
  • Snowdon Beetle

Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way is a well-marked series of 29 walking routes which is considered to be one of the best of Scotland’s Great Trails. The Great Glen Way can be completed in one go over a multi-day adventure or in parts over the course of a number of visits. During your walk, you will be covering woodlands and waterside rich in bird and animal life in the remnants of the old Caledonian forest. The wildlife you are likely to see can include:

  • Grey Heron
  • Mute Swan
  • Osprey
  • Buzzards
  • Red Squirrel
  • Otter
  • Red Deer
  • Roe Deer
  • Sika Deer

Rutland Water

Established in 1970 in the heart of East Midlands, Rutland may seem to be one of the smallest counties in England, but it boasts of one of the best nature reserves in the entire country. The 1000 acre sanctuary had four miles of walking trails and nearly 200 bird species have been recorded here. While the network of lagoons provides a shelter for water birds, in excess of 25,000 numbers in winter, the woods have some rare wildlife species. Wildlife and birds to watch out for:

  • Badger
  • Water vole
  • Osprey
  • Spoonbill
  • Grass snakes
  • Great Crested Newt
  • Palmate Newt
  • Canadian Geese
  • Red Kite
  • Brown Hare
  • Fox
  • Stoat

Lairig Ghru, Scotland

red deer

Red deer

Thousands of walkers choose to traverse Scotland’s most dramatic pass, Lairig Ghru, every year despite the difficult logistics. Waiting around the corner are four of the five tallest peaks in Britain rising up to 2800 feet bisected by a range of complex cliffs and steep slopes. Simply said, this worthy and challenging hike is one of the finest walking routes in Britain. The track is well-defined and sturdy for most of the way and is the only spot in Britain that is home to alpine flora. Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Red Deer
  • Sand Grouse
  • Golden Eagle
  • Kestrel
  • Red Squirrel
  • Pine Tits
  • Ptarmigan
  • Dottrel
  • Snow Bunting
  • Mountain Hares

Pembrokeshire Coast Path

The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is one of the gems of Britain, given the unspoiled landscape and amazing scenery. Apart from being a popular walking route, Pembrokeshire is a haven for celebrity wildlife species like whales and sharks, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. No visit to the park is deemed complete without a walk on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, with stretches accessible to even wheelchair users, it is easy to tick off your favorite bird or animal in no time at all, especially because most of them have long disappeared from other parts of the UK.

  • Chough
  • Stonechat
  • Atlantic Grey Seal
  • Orcas
  • Blue Sharks
  • Risso’s Dolphins
  • Tope
  • Golden Plover
  • Goldeneye
  • Redwing
  • Fieldfare
  • Snipe

Blacka Moor, Sheffield

Blacka Moor became a part of the city of Sheffield in the 1930’s. It is spread over 181 hectares of awe-inspiring scenery and wild landscapes. The walk goes through the Blacka plantation to the outskirts of Totley and onwards to Houndkirk moor. The animals in Blacka roam free and if you are lucky you will see them many times during the walk or not see them for days 

  • Red Deer
  • Roe Deer Badger
  • Fox
  • Weasel
  • Curlew
  • Stonechat
  • Skylark
  • Adder

Gilfach, Radnorshire

Located among the stunning Cambrian Mountains, the Gilfach Nature Reserve is as rich in wildlife as it is in hiking. A winding route over moors and woods runs past the fast-flowing River Marteg where a wooden platform provides an excellent view, if you are lucky, to witness one of the greatest Atlantic salmon migrations in nature in late October to November.

The variety of wildlife found here makes Gilfach different from others. Of the 70 bird species found here, almost 45 of them choose to breed here. Some of the animals and birds recorded here are:

yellow hammer

Yellow hammer

  • Yellow Hammer
  • Redpoll
  • Linnet
  • Whinchat
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Cuckoo
  • European otter
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Weasel
  • Daubenton Bat
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Wheatear

Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire

The spectacular landscape of this stretch of the Lincolnshire coastline can only be surpassed by the number of birds which can be spotted here during the spring and autumn migration. Gibraltar Point, near Skegness, is worth walking in different seasons, not only for the impressive views but the sheer diversity of wildlife which can be seen here. A number of walkways and fully accessible paths makes Gibraltar open to all visitors. The first migrants which stop here to refuel are:

  • Little Terns
  • Skylark
  • Brent Geese
  • Snow Bunting
  • Redwing
  • Fieldfare
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Common Seal
  • Green Hairstreak
  • Avocet.

The UK is home to many destinations that offer glorious bird and wildlife walks. If you are stuck on where to begin this guide will help you in finding a place for your target species. Besides taking a pair of binoculars on these walking trails, carry some birdseed too. Who knows you may attract something special.

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