The best of Welsh wildlife 

Leaping salmon, soaring red kites and frolicking dolphins: Wales has just the kind of wildlife that grabs the imagination of children and adults alike. And they’re all easy to spot, says Phil Hurst of Wildlife Trusts Wales, as he takes us on a guided tour of the best wildlife in Wales. 

Wildlife spotting 

Bottlenosed Dolphins by Nia Haf Jones

Wales has wildlife to rival anywhere in Europe. Within a few hours of London, the Midlands or the North East you can find yourself watching ospreys or dolphins one day, and sitting in a field of orchids the next. Welsh seas host leatherback turtles and seahorses, while its mountains provide a refuge for red kites (with a wingspan of almost two metres) and peregrine falcons, the fastest bird on the planet.

Autumn wildlife

Red kite soaring high in the sky around Aberystwyth

Red kite around Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

 by Howie Mudge

Wales has long been a summer holiday destination but there’s a lot to see at all times of year. Autumn in the valleys of South Wales sees one of the best-kept secrets in the UK as the trees turn a riot of orange and brown to rival the world-famous New England fall.

If you’re in Aberystwyth at dusk in October, you can’t miss the thousands of starlings flying in close formation, creating fantastic patterns in the sky. And in November you’ll be able to see Atlantic salmon leaping up our rivers as they head towards their spawning grounds inland.

Where to go

Knowing where to go is the key. If you want to find hidden wildlife treasures away from the crowds, then it’s hard to beat one of the 216 nature reserves owned by the Wildlife Trust Wales. You don’t have to be a member and access is free. The Wildlife Trusts also run hundreds of family-oriented events each year, from seashore safaris to bat watching evenings. Each Trust runs its own programme of family events so it’s check their websites for details.

Brecknock (Powys) 

Gwent 

Montgomeryshire (Powys)

North Wales

Radnorshire (Powys) 

South & West Wales