Ten Wild Days out in Wales
Soaring red kites, frolicking dolphins and leaping salmon: Wales has just the kind of wildlife that grabs the imagination. And it’s all easy to spot, says Phil Hurst of Wildlife Trusts Wales. www.wtwales.org
- Ospreys nest from April to late summer on the Cors-dyfi reserve near Machynlleth. Other birds of prey regularly seen include red kite, honey buzzard and marsh and hen harriers. There’s also a herd of water buffalo that help to manage the wetlands. www.dyfiospreyproject.com
- Although dolphins can be regularly seen from the shore, the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre organises boat trips from April onwards. www.cbmwc.org
- Visitors often report seeing otters at the lovely Gilfach Farm reserve near Rhayader. The best time to visit is October to December when otters come to the waterfalls to chase the leaping salmon. www.rwtwales.org
- Situated above the beautiful Wye Valley, the Pentywn Farm reserve provides commanding views. Early summer sees thousands of green- winged orchids in spectacular wildflower meadows. www.gwentwildlife.org
- Once on the edge of extinction, there are now an estimated 1,000 breeding pairs of red kites in Wales. Feeding stations where visitors can experience these magnificent birds close up include Gigrin Farm and the Red Kite Feeding Centre in the west of the Brecon Beacons National Park. www.gigrin.co.uk, www.redkiteswales.com
- There are an estimated 16,000 puffins and 300,000 Manx shearwaters on the world- renowned Skomer and Skokholm islands, which are also home to large numbers of grey seals. Boats run daily from March to December. www.welshwildlife.org
- With well over 1,000 nesting pairs of sandwich terns, Cemlyn on Anglesey is an internationally important site for seabirds. The arctic tern, which also nests here, migrates up to 50,000 miles (80,467 km) every year between the Arctic and Antarctic. www.northwaleswildlifetrust.org.uk
- Over 30 species of butterfly can be found in the dramatic former quarry of Llanymynech, smack bang on the border between Wales and England. Fortunately the local wildflife trust have produced a guide, so you can tell your Grizzled Skipper from your White Letter Hairstreak.
- Carpets of bluebells cover the ancient woodlands in many parts of Wales, but few reach the dazzling heights of Coed y Felin, just outside Mold in Flintshire. Down south try the Coed Dyrysiog reserve just outside Brecon.
- For autumnal blazes of colour, the valleys of South East Wales rival the forests of New England. The Silent Valley reserve near Ebbw Vale is a perfect example, while the Pwll-y-Wrach reserve near Talgarth has spectacular autumn colours in ancient woodland running down to plunging waterfalls along the River Enig.