BBC Wildlife: UK’s 10 favourite places for wildlife revealed - winners include The Causeway Coast

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Nation’s favourite spots for wildlife have been revealed including London’s Wimbledon Common.

Home to an astonishing array of fascinating creatures and habitats, the UK offers a wealth of wildlife spots which attract nature enthusiasts and conservationists alike. And now, BBC Wildlife magazine has revealed the UK’s 10 favourite places for wildlife as nominated by people in the network as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations in January.

Conservationists, authors, presenters, and photographers chose the locations to highlight their finest wildlife spots in the UK. The places, which ranged from lofty peaks to beautiful seas, were then put to a public vote on YouGov.

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The winner is the stunning Causeway Coast, a wild place of outstanding natural beauty with dunes, sheer cliffs and the amazing rock formations of the magnificent Giant’s Causeway. The region also hosts a wonderful wealth of marine wildlife, from seals to basking sharks.

In second place is South London’s Wimbledon Common, nominated by author Jini Reddy. Covering 460 hectares of green space, the capital’s famous green lung is both an SSSI and Special Area of Conservation, thanks to its rich grassland and heathland, and provides a home to a diversity of wildlife including badgers, foxes, kestrels and kingfishers.

Third place falls to Scotland’s Scaur Glen as nominated by Juliet Vickery from the British Trust Ornithology. The Scaur River passes through this glen, bubbling through moorland, meandering through sheep pasture and tumbling through wooded riverbanks to Penpont.

The beautiful Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall follows in fourth, with Yorkshire’s Rodley Nature Reserve in fifth.

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Tara Shine, an environmental scientist who nominated the Causeway Coast, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the Causeway Coast has been voted the UK’s favourite place for wildlife.

“While studying at Ulster University, I spent some of my most memorable days near, in and under the water here, catching waves off the sandy beach at Portrush, snorkelling with curious grey seals, and scuba-diving off the Skerries and below the dramatic cliffs of Rathlin Island, where I glided over stony reefs with dogfish and among shipwrecks with conger eels.

Causeway Coast in Northern IrelandCauseway Coast in Northern Ireland
Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland | Getty Images

“I hope more people can experience the natural wonders of this little-known gem, and support local efforts to protect and enhance it. You will find peace, an abundance of wildlife and a warm welcome from those people who call it home.”

BBC Wildlife Editor Paul McGuiness said: “Since we launched our quest to find the nation’s favourite place for wildlife, it’s been a joy to really delve into the huge variety of wildlife we have in these islands. From the clear waters of the Isles of Scilly to the majesty of the Scottish Highlands, and everything in between, we have so much to celebrate and enjoy right here on our doorstep”.

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So, whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply someone wishing to get away from it all, the UK has a plethora of wildlife spots just waiting to be discovered. Below are the results of 10 UK’s favourite places for wildlife as revealed by BBC Wildlife.

A wooden bridge / walkway helps walkers get over a small pond in Wimbledon Common, London.A wooden bridge / walkway helps walkers get over a small pond in Wimbledon Common, London.
A wooden bridge / walkway helps walkers get over a small pond in Wimbledon Common, London. | Getty Images

10 UK’s most favourite wildlife locations

1. The Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland (Nominated by Tara Shine, environmental scientist and science communicator)

The Causeway Coast is a wild place of outstanding natural beauty, with dunes, cliffs, and, of course, the amazing rock formations of the Giant’s Causeway. I’ve spent some of my most memorable days exploring the sea here - it enthrals every time.”

2. Wimbledon Common, South-west London (Nominated by Jini Reddy, author and journalist)

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Wimbledon Common is a favourite wild place in all seasons and provides a marvellous  green lung for Londoners. I particularly love Queensmere Pond. Shrouded by woods, at noon and a blue-sky day, it’s a tranquil sun-trap with the feel of a far more remote wilderness.”

3. Scaur Glen, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (Nominated by Juliet Vickery, British Trust Ornithology)

The Scaur rises in Polskeoch on the Southern Upland Way, bubbles through moorland, meanders through pasture and tumbles through woodland to Penpot. I spent three summers here for my PhD; 35 years later, summer still draws me back.”

Aerial shot of Tresco, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, UK. Aerial shot of Tresco, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, UK.
Aerial shot of Tresco, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, UK. | Getty Images

4. The Isles of Scilly, Cornwall (Nominated by Lucy McRobert, author and communications manager at IOS Wildlife Trust)

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“From windswept winters to sun kissed summer days, life on the Atlantic edge is ever-changing. I’ve been at sea surrounded by shearwaters, skuas and storm petrels, I’ve watched humpbacks on Christmas Eve, and twice a year, I’m treated to an array of migrant birds, from hoopoes to bee-eaters.”

5. Rodley Nature Reserve, Leeds, Yorkshire (Nominated by Pam Taylor, British Dragonfly Society)

“Nestled between Horsforth and the River Aire, Rodley is a dragonfly and damselfly hotspot on the edge of the city. At least 18 species have been recorded here.”

6. RSPB Ynys-Hir, Ceredigion, Wales (Nominated by Martin Hughes-Games, BBC presenter)

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“Of all the places I visited in my 10 years co-presenting Springwatch, this is the most memorable. The scenery is spectacular, and every day I was plunged into a world teeming with wildlife, including, to name a few stars, otters, hen harriers and grass snakes.”

7. Winter Hill, Greater Machester  (Nominated by Anitha Sethi, nature writer)

“When I climb to the summit of Winter Hill, I feel like I’m on top of the world. The site, managed by The Woodland Trust, is being restored and revitalised with tree-planting galore. Wildlife to look out for includes cuckoos, deer and common lizards.”

8. RSPB Middleton Lakes, Staffordshire (Nominated by Lucy Lapwing, naturalist)

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“Hidden between the urban stretches of Tamworth and Birmingham, this patch of rustling reedbeds and stretching skies has become a place of learning and escape. The hours spent absorbing wild things here are consistently uplifting.

9. St Catherine’s Hill Nature Reserve, Hampshire (Nominated by Chris Packham, BBC presenter)

“I bounded up these slopes in 1966, looking for rabbits and stoats. In 1986, I chased kestrels for a BBC film, in 1996 I climbed to the top to combat a bout of depression. I trudged to the summit again in 2016 with my poodle, Scratchy, just before he died, and again last year to honour my late father. St Catherine’s Hill has made and saved my life.

10. Canvey Wick Nature Reserve, Essex (Nominated by Karim Vahed, Buglife)

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“Sitting in the corner of Canvey Island, Canvey Wick is home to a phenomenal variety of invertebrates. It’s one of the best places in Britain for endangered insects, home to rarities such as the shrill carder bee and scarce emerald damselfly.”

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