The best destination in the UK to see winter wildlife

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A new study by the RSPCA and thortful looked for the most popular destinations in the UK to spot wildlife. They also looked at TikTok views to find the best place.

Top winter wildlife hotspots

  1. Dartmoor National Park, Devon
  2. Teifi Marshes, Wales
  3. Folly Farm, Avon
  4. Dawlish Inner Warren, Devon
  5. Glenarm Nature Reserve, Northern Ireland
  6. Studland Bay, Dorset
  7. Falls of Clyde, Scotland
  8. Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
  9. Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire
  10. Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire

Dartmoor National Park took the top spot and it might be unsurprising to see that the top animals to spot are the park’s wild ponies.

Although there were once 30,000 ponies on the moor, there are now only around 1,500 left roaming.

The hardy ponies can survive on the moor despite harsh winter and poor vegetation and play a vital role in the park’s habitat.

Tourists shouldn’t feed or pet the ponies as they haven’t been handled and may kick or bite if approached.

All the ponies are owned by ‘Dartmoor Commoners’ usually farmers or residents of the Moor who have grazing rights and they ensure the herds are kept healthy.

If they’re lucky, tourists might also be able to spot otters or moorland birds such as skylarks and snipe.

Teifi Marshes in Wales was the second best spot for wildlife and is a top destination to see starling murmurations.

At Folly Farm in Avon, tourists might be able to spot birds of prey such as tawny owls which nest on the farm.

Evie Button, scientific officer in the RSPCA wildlife department, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that people are so interested in finding places to go and watch wildlife this winter.

“Although winter is traditionally a quieter time for much of our wildlife, there are still many animals around for us to enjoy watching, including large numbers of birds which you can only see in the UK at this time of year as they migrate from other countries to spend the winter here.

“From starling murmurations to gatherings of geese, you can find incredible wildlife spectacles all around the country.”

A spokesperson at thortful said: “It’s understandable why so many of us are keen to spot wildlife, and as part of our partnership with the RSPCA we are keen to provide some inspiration on the best places to do so!

“We hope this study inspires you to get outside this winter and admire the beauty that the UK has to offer, from its wild animals to its breathtaking scenery.”

RSPCA wildlife watching tips

  • Be careful when walking your dog near wildlife
  • Don’t litter whilst out and about
  • Have a read of the Countryside Code

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