There’s nothing better than going for a lovely walk on a crisp winter’s day with family or friends. But perhaps you’re unsure where to go and in need of some inspiration?
Based on TikTok views, we’ve uncovered the top winter wildlife hotspots in the UK to go and enjoy nature. Here are the top 15 places including some of the animals you may come across while there:
|Some of the animals you can see||TikTok hashtag||
|Dartmoor National Park, Devon||Dartmoor ponies, moorland birds, otters||#dartmoornationalpark||5,400,000|
|Teifi Marshes, Wales||Starling murmurations, otters||#teifi||3,700,000|
|Folly Farm, Avon||Birds of prey||#follyfarm||2,500,000|
|Dawlish Inner Warren, Devon||Migratory waterbirds||#dawlishwarren||1,500,000|
|Glenarm Nature Reserve, NI||Otters, red squirrels||#glenarm||1,100,000|
|Studland Bay, Dorset||Deer, brent geese||#studlandbay||854,100|
|Falls of Clyde, Scotland||Otters||#fallsofclyde||773,400|
|Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire||Mountain hare||#marsdenmoor||431,900|
|Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire||Deer||#fountainsabbey||271,700|
|Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire||Starling murmurations||#godmanchester||252,200|
|The Calf of Man, Isle of Man||Seal pups||#calfofman||234,500|
|Donna Nook NNR, Lincolnshire||Seal pups||#donnanook||190,200|
|Flamborough Head, Yorkshire||Seal pups||#flamboroughhead||130,500|
|Skomer, Wales||Seal pups, birds of prey||#skomer||119,400|
Where are the top places to go see wildlife this winter?
Our research discovered the top spot for winter wildlife watching is Dartmoor in Devon with the hashtag #dartmoornationapark reaching 5.4 million views on TikTok. A wide range of wild animals can be seen on Dartmoor including moorland birds and otters. This is also a great spot for any pony fans as you’ll be able to watch the Dartmoor ponies casually graze around the fields. If you’re with the kids, why not take a look at the other family-friendly attractions in Dartmoor such as a steam train ride at the South Devon Railway!
Not far behind in second with an impressive 3.7 million views on TikTok is the Teifi Marshes in Cardigan, Wales. If you visit this nature reserve, it’s worth looking up to the sky as you might see impressive starling murmurations and you could also come across some adorable otters on the ground too.
While there, you could also head over to the Welsh Wildlife Centre and grab some food at the Glasshouse Café and the little ones can run around and burn off some steam in the adventure playground.
Folly Farm, which is run by the Avon Wildlife Trust, comes third with 2.5 million TikTok views. Some of the animals you might see at this picturesque nature reserve include birds of prey, such as tawny owls and buzzards.
Tips on what to do if you’re looking to see wildlife this winter
In case you’re planning a trip to one of these winter wildlife hotspots – or just any other place where you could see some animals – here are some of our top tips on what to do to keep you and the wildlife safe.
Be careful when walking your dog near wildlife
When out on your winter wildlife walk with the dog in the countryside, it’s important to be mindful of the wildlife nearby. Even if you can’t see them they can be hidden away in the bushes or hedgerows, and dogs can still sniff them out thanks to their fantastic sense of smell.
Make sure your dog doesn’t disturb them as this could cause parents to abandon their young or there’s the possibility that the animal or your dog could even end up being injured. If you can’t avoid areas with wildlife and livestock, it’s best to keep your dog on the lead at all times in these areas, and obey any signs asking you to keep away from wildlife and livestock.
Have a read of The Countryside Code
It’s important to be mindful of UK wildlife laws and the countryside code if you’re looking to spot some wildlife this winter. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects wild birds and other animals across England and Wales. Scotland has its own law, the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act 2011. Wherever you’re going, it’s worth looking into The Countryside Code before you head out on a winter walk.
Don’t litter while out and about
It’s understandable that you might be carrying some bits when out wandering this winter looking for wildlife such as food and drink. Of course, there’s not always going to be a nearby bin to put your rubbish into but there’s never an excuse for littering. Not only is it bad for the environment, but littering can be dangerous to animals.
For example, animals may choke when trying to eat plastic bags or climb inside and suffocate, cans and containers can also result in injuries due to the sharp edges or they could get stuck inside. So, make sure to keep everything on you until you can safely dispose of it later.
If you do have any wildlife concerns whilst out on your winter stroll, you can get in touch with the RSPCA for further advice.
Now you know exactly where to go if you’re wanting to see wildlife in the UK (well, according to TikTok anyway). If reading this has left you feeling inspired to go wildlife-watching this winter, we’re pretty sure you’ll absolutely love our collection of RSPCA Christmas cards. We’ll be giving £1 to the RSPCA for every card sold from this collection, and 5p for all our other A5 Christmas cards.
Stay merry and bright this festive season and check out the rest of the thortful blog where you can find all sorts of fun Christmassy content including the best homemade Christmas gift ideas and how to make a wreath.