GREAT UK WILDLIFE DESTINATIONS
Clovelly is the best place to take a chartered boat to see sharks, seals and whales at close quarters - you can even get in the water with the seals!
(link to Clovelly Charters: www.clovelly-charters.ukf.net/)
Clovelly is off the A39 approximately halfway between Bideford and Bude, on the B3237.
THE LAKE DISTRICT:
Leighton Moss - RSPB Reserve
Best known as a bird reserve, Leighton Moss is also home to a thriving population of red deer, which can be watched rutting on fine autumn mornings from the bird hides. The best times are in the hour or two after dawn and later afternoon. The exact dates for the rut depend on the frost as it needs to be fairly cold for activity to begin, but late September to mid-October is the usual peak. The reserve is excellent for birds, especially wildfowl and the beautiful bearded tit.
Leighton Moss RSPB, Reserve, near Carnforth, Lancashire. Tel: 01524 701601.
Loch Garten and Abernethy Forest RSPB Reserve
The RSPB's Osprey Centre at Loch Garten is one of the most popular nature reserves in the country, with over 2 million visitors since it first opened in 1959. The ospreys can be seen (live and on CCTV) from April until August. The surrounding pine forest is also excellent for wildlife, including red deer, crested tits (which may be seen on artificial feeders by the entrance) and the elusive capercaillie.
The Osprey Centre is reached via minor roads from the village of Boat of Garten. See live pictures from the osprey nest at www.rspb.org.uk/webcams.
One of the finest examples of lowland heath in Britain, the 720 hectares of Studland Heath boast a rich variety of wildlife. This includes the 'big six' reptiles, half the British species of dragonflies, rare butterflies such as the silver-studded blue, and the usual heathland birds including healthy populations of Dartford warbler and nightjar. At dawn and dusk look out for roe and sika deer. The dominant vegetation is heather and gorse, but there are also rare plants such as Dorset heath, especially in wetter areas. On bare ground, particularly near sand dunes, watch out for basking sand lizard and smooth snake. Hartland Moor is one of the country's oldest National Nature Reserves and is the stronghold for Dorset heath, as well as other typical bog plants such as sundew.
Studland Heath forms a peninsula on the southern edge of Poole Harbour. Hartland Moor is a few miles west, between Stoborough and Arne.
Low Newton beach
The public beach plays host to the spectacle of hundreds of toads feeding on insects on summer evenings from June onwards. Warm, humid evenings are best, and toads become active after dark. The area is also excellent for dune flora.
Low Newton beach is near Low Newton-by-the-Sea village, not far from Alnwick.