04 August 2016
A new way to discover the wonders of Welsh wildlife
Wales is one of the world’s best places to watch wildlife, if you know where - and when - to look. So we’ve teamed up with Wildlife Trusts Wales to create an interactive guide to help you explore Wales’ wonderful wildlife, whether it’s amazing ospreys, a feeding frenzy of red kites, the world’s largest Manx shearwater colony, or the best place in Britain to see puffins and porpoises.
Why not go for a relaxing stroll through an enchanting Welsh rainforest carpeted in bluebells and daffodils? Or simply sit in a field full of orchids, or by a brilliant waterfall, and admire the view? The magic isn’t just restricted to spring and summer – there are amazing wildlife displays in autumn and winter with seal pups aplenty, the return of thousands of birds to our estuaries, and wonderful autumnal woodland colours with golds, bronzes and foxy reds.
Wales has an abundance of wildlife hot-spots, including 216 Wildlife Trust nature reserves, 11 RSPB sanctuaries, over 2,485sq miles (4,000sq km) of National Park, and an 870-mile (1400 km) Wales Coast Path for wildlife to, well, go wild in.
Wales has it all – but knowing where to go is the key to unlocking its secrets. Wildlife of Wales helps visitors to explore Wales’s wonderful natural world – and here are just a few highlights:
This majestic bird was pushed to the edge of extinction in the UK with only a few pairs left in our remotest uplands. But now around 2,000 of these magnificent birds patrol the skies throughout Wales, performing amazing acrobatics overhead all year round.
These beautiful birds travel from Africa to have their summer holidays (and breed) at the Wildlife Trust’s Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve.
Rainforests and daffodils
We’ve got some of the best examples of Atlantic oak woodland in Europe, as well as two native species of daffodil, the Tenby and the Welsh (or Lent) daffodil. Our ancient woodlands come alive in the vivid yellow of the daffodils before the bluebells dominate the forest floor.
Daffodils, Portmeirion, North Wales
Puffins and Manx shearwater
There are an estimated 357,000 breeding pairs of shearwater on Skomer and Skokholm islands, the world’s greatest concentration. Skomer also has the largest colony of puffins in southern Britain.
These enchanting little animals have been driven out of most of Britain by their grey cousins, but we’ve got several red strongholds dotted around Wales.
Porpoise and dolphin
New Quay on Cardigan Bay is one of Europe’s best places to see these amazing marine mammals. You can take a wildlife boat cruise, or simply sit on the quayside and keep your eyes peeled.
Dolphin spotting near New Quay, Mid Wales
Wildflower meadows and waterfalls
The Wildlife Trust looks after our largest areas of flower-rich grassland and their countless thousands of orchids. Their reserves also hold some of our most spectacular waterfalls, including the Melincwrt and Pwll-y-Wrach falls.
Autumn is the best time to see seal pups, notably on the island wildlife sanctuaries of Ramsey, Skomer, Skokholm and Bardsey.
The lagoon at Cemlyn Nature Reserve has an internationally important seabird colony, including breeding common and Arctic terns, and one of the UK’s largest nesting populations of Sandwich terns.
Otters and estuaries
Wales has the best otter-watching opportunities in Europe. The best time to visit is October to December when otters come to the waterfalls to chase the leaping salmon.