The UK’s National Parks do not boast the bears and wolves of international counterparts (although some argue they should), but weird and fascinating life can be found across the National Parks. As the only charity dedicated to protecting and improving the National Parks of England and Wales Campaign for National Parks think 2019 should be the year you get out and get wild in the beautiful National Parks!
Exploring coastal wildlife
The islands and coastline of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park contain some of the best coastal wildlife anywhere. Islands of this beautiful Welsh landscape are buzzing with the busy activities of sea birds including puffins, guillemots and even owls! Early summer is often the best time to see these fascinating avian friends but should you visit in autumn the beaches and caves of the National Park are home to hundreds of beautiful seal pups.
Top tip: seals should be left well alone (nothing scarier than angry, blubbery, mother seal wobbling her way to give you a bite).
Finding marine animals
Seals aren’t the only aquatic life that can be found in our National Parks. The coasts of Exmoor and the North York Moors can be fantastic spots to introduce your young ones to the wonders of the natural world. A fantastic way of doing this, is by exploring the rock pools, looking for the crabs and small fish that inhabit the watery nooks and crannies. The beaches around Robin Hood Bay and the Heritage coast in the North York Moors is a great spot for this.
Spotting birds of prey
Birds of prey reign supreme across many of the Parks. The serene, peaceful and friendly landscapes around Malham in the Yorkshire Dales such as the Yorkshire Dales, birds such as the peregrine falcons (the fastest bird in the world), are the ultimate predators and searching for these elusive falcons can be tricky! Attending a red-kite feeding in the Brecon Beacons National Park can be a more reliable way of viewing birds of prey. These kites, which have rebounded after many precarious years, can descend on mass at special feeding sites throughout the Park.
Top tip: look out for volunteers and helpers from local wildlife trusts who often run events and stalls to help you spot rare birds such as falcons and kites.
If mammals are more your thing, a visit to the Lake District or the New Forest National Parks might be in order. In the many beautiful woodlands of these special landscapes, you might be lucky in spotting some of Britain’s rarest wildlife. In the Lake District, you might spot Beatrix Potter’s squirrel nutkin herself – an adorable red squirrel. National Parks are some of the last places in England you can see these red rodents. The New Forest is home to five different species of deer and these can often be spotted on the edges of woodland at dawn and dusk. They include the tiny muntjac and the mighty red deer – the UK’s largest wild land animal.
Top tip: Mammals can be nervous, whether you’re spotting deer, squirrels or hedgehogs. Stay quiet and still to maximise your chances of an incredible wildlife experience.
This really is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wild treasures of England and Wales’ 13 National Parks! These precious landscapes are living wonders and the best way to celebrate them is by getting out and getting wild in them!