Wildlife is easy to spot in Wales” says Phil Hurst of Wildlife Trusts Wales. These top ten wildlife sites are where you are likely to see the beautiful wildlife listed. But they are not exclusive to these locations. Dolphins can be watched from numerous headlands around Wales and if you are lucky you can spot otters in the early morning along rivers from Bangor to Cardiff. Ospreys nest from April to late summer on the Cors Dyfi reserve in Machynlleth. Other birds prey seen regularly include red kite, honey buzzard and marsh and hen harriers. This tranquil site has a variety of habitats, open water, swamp, bog, wet woodland, scrub and gorse, all supporting their own mix of flora and fauna. Dragonflies, damselflies and a diversity of plants and flowers can also be enjoyed. A short walk from the parking area passes the first pond to the living willow screen bird watching area. Facilities include a visitor centre, small shop and basic refreshments.
Tel: 01938 555654
Although dolphins can be regularly seen from the shore in many parts, the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre organizes boat trips from April onwards. The centre also raises awareness of the marine wildlife in Cardigan Bay through interpretive displays and boat trips. The North Wales Wildlife Trust also run regular land-based dolphin watching seashore safaris over the summer.
Tel: 01545 560032
Otters can be seen at the lovely Gilfach Farm Reserve in Radnorshire. Last summer a family saw a female and two cubs walking along the nature trail in mid-afternoon. A good time to visit is October to December when otters come to the waterfalls to chase the leaping salmon. Gilfach nature discovery centre is situated in a beautiful setting at the confluence of the Marteg River with the River Wye in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid Wales. Gilfach is locally unique because of its wide variety of habitats supporting an abundance of birds and animals within a small area.
Tel: 01597 823298
Fields of orchids and Ox-Eye Daisies can be enjoyed at Pentwyn Farm Meadow, Monmouthshire. Situated above the beautiful Wye Valley, Pentwyn Farm reserve provides commanding views over the surrounding countryside.
Tel: 01600 740601
Red Kites can be seen at feeding stations at Gigrin Farm Tel: 01597 810243, in Radnorshire and the Red Kite Feeding Centre (01550 740617) at Llanddeusant in the west of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Here your group will enjoy seeing 50 plus Kites along with Buzzards and Ravens. Allow time for a browse and refreshment in the shop and cafe. There are an estimated 16000 Puffins and 300,000 Manx Shearwaters on the world renowned Skomer and Skokholm islands, which are also home to large numbers of grey seals. You need to book visits in advance and boats run daily from March to December.
Skomer Round Island Cruises offer leisurely wildlife cruises surrounded by amazing marine wildlife and seabirds, puffins and razorbills, seals and gannets and maybe even a dolphin or porpoise.
Tel: 01646 603121
Spectacular Cemlyn on Anglesey is an internationally important site for seabirds and visitors can experience these rare and elegant birds close up, chasing and diving in spectacular courtship displays for winging in with freshly caught fish. The Arctic Tern also nests here and migrates up to 50,000 miles every year between the Arctic and Antarctic.
Tel: 01248 351541
See Salmon leaping at Radyr Weir on the River Taff, Cardiff and enjoy a thrilling experience. In Mid Wales one of the best places is the River Marteg at the Gilfach Farm reserve in Radnorshire, but you can even see them in the centre of Cardiff on the River Taff by Blackweir. Carpets of bluebells cover the ancient woodlands in many parts of Wales, but few reach the dazzling heights of Coed y Felin Tel: 01352 810469, just outside Mold in Flintshire. In the south visit the Coed Dyrysiog Tel: 01874 625708 reserve just outside Brecon.