Bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay

You can spot dolphins almost anywhere along the west coast in summer. But to give your chances a boost, visit the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre in New Quay and take a boat trip, or simply keep an eye out to sea from the glorious clifftop walks. 

dolphins jumping in sea.

Dolphin watching in Cardigan Bay, Mid Wales

Dragonflies at Cors Caron

Cors Caron's vast raised bog, near Tregaron, is the most important in the UK, and supports a staggering amount of life, including around 16 species of dragonfly. They’re gorgeous to look at… and pretty tasty, judging by the number of hobbies - agile little hawks - that predate on them.

Raised bog surrounded by spring flowers

Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, Tregaron, Ceredigion

Red kites at Nant yr Arian

Mountain bikers and red kites both flock to the visitor centre at Bwlch Nant yr Arian. It became a red kite feeding station in 1999, designed to give the small numbers of kites a helping hand and to encourage them to gather together. Nowadays around 150 birds swoop to daily feedings, which take place at 3 pm in the summer.

Red Kites at Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Ponterwyd, Mid Wales

Bluebells on Old Warren Hill

Old Warren Hill Iron Age hillfort near Nanteos has long surrendered to nature, and its wooded slopes are now the ideal home for all kinds of birds, while badgers live in the ramparts. In early summer it’s one of the best places in the area to enjoy bluebells and other ground flora. 

Bluebells growing in a wooded area
Bluebells growing in a wooded area

Bluebells on Old Warren Hill

Spring flowers at Pwll-y-Wrach

The ‘witch’s pool’ was carved by a waterfall where the River Enig plunges down a wooded gorge near Talgarth. It’s especially lovely at Pwll-y-Wrach nature reserve in spring, when wood anemones poke like white stars through a yellow carpet of lesser celandines. Later on, bluebells fleck the woodland floor with shimmering blue and the heady scent of wild garlic fills the air. 

carpet of wood anemones and lesser celandines.
bee on bluebell in bluebell wood.
wild garlic.

Spring flowers in Pwll-y-Wrach Nature Reserve, near Talgarth, Powys

Flowering heathland at Abergwesyn

When we describe this as the back of beyond, we mean it as a compliment. When you drive the Abergwesyn Pass, up the winding Devil’s Staircase, there are genuine moments when you wonder if you’ve passed through some time portal. Strike up into the hills on foot, head north, and you’ll be in the loneliest part of the Cambrian Mountains, the only human traces being ancient stone circles. Abergwesyn Common is splendid isolation, indeed. 

Purple heather against a blue sky

Flowering heathland at Abergwesyn

Ospreys at Cors Dyfi

Ospreys spend their winters in West Africa, but since 2011 several ospreys have come to Cors Dyfi each spring to mate. Over the years the osprey partners have raised one to three chicks successfully each year.

Spring and summer are also the best times to see Cors Dyfi’s other plants and animals, which include nightjars, warblers, beavers, lizards and water buffalo, which graze the marshes and keep the reserve in tip-top shape.

Wildflower displays at Arthog Bog

Arthog Bog's small wetland, one of the few remaining fragments of the Mawddach Estuary’s raised bog, is a wonderful place to see weird and wonderful plants, flowers, butterflies and birds. With more than 130 species of plants recorded, there are colourful displays of marsh marigold and yellow flag in the spring and hemp agrimony, meadowsweet and ragged robin through the summer. 

A white pony grazing

A pony grazing at Arthog Bog 

Easy access at Withybeds

More than 30 breeding species of bird live in the willow and alder woodland of Withybeds along the River Lugg, including flycatchers, woodpeckers and little owls. In spring and early summer the wood is full of birdsong, which can be enjoyed by all, thanks to a boardwalk which is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Lapwings at RSPB Ynys-hir

Lapwings were once common on farmland, but their numbers have dropped alarmingly. Ynys-hir is one of their most important strongholds, and they share this fabulous reserve with dozens of other species. There’s all kinds of habitat, from marsh to meadow, but a walk through the ancient oak woodland, when it’s carpeted with spring flowers, is a particular delight. 

A bird standing on the grass
Lapwing sitting on grass with a baby lapwing standing next to it

Lapwings, Ynys-hir, Mid Wales

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