The UK’s Green Spaces: Best National Parks and Nature Reserves

Rutland Water is one of the largest man-made lakes in Europe and an internationally important site for birds. Top things to see include:

  • Ospreys fishing in the lake (the reserve has played a key role in re-establishing ospreys in England)
  • Huge flocks of wildfowl in winter like wigeon, gadwall and goldeneye
  • Wildflower meadows buzzing with butterflies and bees in summer

2. RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk

Minsmere is the RSPB’s flagship reserve, home to a huge variety of habitats from reedbeds to shingle beaches. Wildlife highlights include:

  • Bitterns booming in spring and marsh harriers soaring overhead
  • Wading birds like avocets and black-tailed godwits
  • Otters playing in the ditches and water voles swimming in the dykes

3. Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

Donna Nook is famed for its huge colony of grey seals that come ashore each winter to give birth. Visitors can:

  • See hundreds of fluffy white seal pups on the sand dunes from November-December
  • Spot birds of prey like peregrines, merlins and short-eared owls
  • Enjoy a bracing walk along the wild coastline

4. Loch Garten, Scottish Highlands

Loch Garten is an ancient Caledonian pine forest surrounding a beautiful loch. Star species include:

  • Ospreys nesting – the reserve has a famous pair that returns each spring
  • Capercaillie – the UK’s largest grouse
  • Red squirrels scampering among the pine trees

Whether you want to scale mountains, spot rare wildlife or simply soak up breathtaking scenery, the UK’s national parks and nature reserves have something for everyone. So why not lace up your walking boots and start exploring these incredible green spaces today?

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