Magnificent 7……Wildlife & Nature experiences

Visit England has listed 101 Things to do in England before you go abroad. Here are NMTBP’s Magnificent 7 in the Wildlife & Nature section:

Twitch on Lundy Island

Jump on MS Oldenburg to Lundy Island, a granite car-free wilderness rising 400ft above the spot where the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic. It may be just three and a half miles long by half a mile wide, but there is plenty of diverse sea life crammed into England’s first Marine Conservation Zone

Grey seal, lobsters and eight species of coral, including pink sea fans, red sea fingers and dead man’s fingers can be found on Lundy Island. In spring and autumn migrant birds make these rocky reefs their home. And it’s a top spot for manx shearwaters, puffins and cliff nesters. In May and June, look out for Lundy Cabbage – this type of brassica doesn’t grow anywhere else in the world


Catch the Severn Bore

The River Severn has the second highest tidal range in the world and a few times a year the waters rush in at speeds of up to 13mph, forming waves up to 2 metres high. It’s quite the spectacle. The largest surge waves, or bores, occur around the high tides nearest the spring and autumn equinoxes. Surfers, kayakers, paddle boarders and some rather astonished ducks line the waves surging inland

But you don’t have to ride the water yourself – although plenty do – as you can watch one of Britain’s most incredible natural wonders from the banks. You’ll get a clear view, and hear the roar of the bore, at night too. The Severn Bore Inn floodlights the river for nocturnal sightings


Spot damsels and dragons

Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve is one of the most important wetlands in Europe with over 8,400 types of plants, birds, otters, water voles and dragonflies. It’s also one of the best places to spot two of the oldest insect groups in the world. On a sunny day you might find thousands of these brightly coloured insects winging their way between ponds, ditches and lakes across the fen. Britain’s largest dragonfly, the emperor, is common, as well as rarer species

It’s crazy to think that damselflies and dragonflies have been darting about the planet for 325 million years. Catch virtuoso displays of these mini flying dinosaurs in the summer months. Their glittering bodies will quite simply take your breath away


Be a kid again at Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach forms part of a national nature reserve and has made a windswept cameo in Shakespeare in Love. With unspoilt white-golden sand that stretches for miles, its panoramic vista is a director’s dream come true

But the setting isn’t the only star as it plays host to rich and varied wildlife. Sand dunes, saltings, pine forests, marshes and a maze of creeks make Holkham a haven for VIP flora and fauna. The number of breeding birds here is remarkable. Holkham Nature Reserve attracts thousands of pink-footed geese as well as lapwings, larks, finches and pipits. As the weather warms up croaking natterjack toads and orchids start to make an appearance. And summer sees a purple haze of sea lavender


See the first snowdrops at Fountains Abbey

The first snowdrops are always a welcome sight, signalling an end to chilly winter days. Walk on a white carpet of them as you explore the 12th century ruins at Fountains Abbey. Best viewed early in the morning, a thin layer of mist slowly fades to reveal swathes of delicate little white flowers in front of this World Heritage Site

Set in 800 acres of countryside near Ripon in Yorkshire, Fountains Abbey is the most complete Cistercian abbey remains in England and houses the only surviving Cistercian corn mill. Drink in the beauty of the adjoining landscaped Georgian water garden of Studley Royal where over 500 red, fallow and Sika deer roam among the ancient trees of its medieval deer park


Swoop on Bempton Cliff’s bird colonies

From April to August over 200,000 seabirds call Bempton Cliffs home and it’s a rather grand place to live. This RSPB reserve is one of the finest places in England to catch bird migration in action. Gannets and puffins reside next door to guillemots and kittiwakes as they nest together on the towering chalk cliffs that rise above the swirling North Sea

Various vantage points provide uninterrupted views of life at one of Britain’s major bird colonies. And when it comes to the sounds of the breeding season, you could say it’s a bit of a noisy affair. If you can’t tell a short-eared owl from a sparrow you won’t miss out as there are specially trained staff on hand to help


Discover the Farne Islands

“There are just a few places that I would recommend to anyone and feel absolutely confident that they’d have an unforgettable experience. I have visited sea bird colonies all round the world but the Farne Islands are the best place to literally walk among terns, shags, kittiwakes and the endlessly entertaining puffins. I’d recommend visiting between April and early September, with June and July for maximum bird activity”. Bill Oddie

Hop on a boat from Seahouses Harbour to discover one of Europe’s finest nature reserves. During the summer you can get up close to all sorts of seabirds, including around 37,000 pairs of loved-up puffins, and come autumn the cute factor is off the scale as over a thousand seal pups are born


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