Winning tip: Rainham, Essex

Cuckoos, kingfishers, water voles, marsh harriers, seals, and great views from the coffee shop: inside the M25! Take a bow, Rainham RSPB reserve. A two-mile walk across the reserve (which is most effective a 20-minute stroll from Purfleet station) yields wealthy rewards and even superb views of Eurostar trains. Spring is mainly noisy, with warblers of all types, and iciness, with big flocks of lapwings and a gazillion geese, is fantastic. There also are uncommon bearded tits, relaxed hides, simple walking, youngsters’ activities, and a super espresso store with a small playground. The Thames perspectives are incredible: the solar filling the cafeteria, which has big home windows over the reserve and the river with basking seals, makes one forget about the nearby large smoke.

Dove Stone Reservoir on the threshold of the Peak District is effortlessly on hand from Manchester, such as by way of educating (close by Greenfield station is at the Huddersfield-Manchester Piccadilly line). A gentle 2½-mile loop around the reservoir makes for a pleasing amble, with offshoots supplying additional paths to increase your day out, inclusive of a 1½-mile path that leads up thru the hills to Chew Reservoir. So bring a picnic, pop yourself down at one of the tables dotted around the tree-covered manner, and maintain a watch and an ear out for some splendid birds at this RSPB blanketed reserve – look out for ravens, curlew, golden plover, and peregrines. On the moors, mountain hares may be seen. It’s free to go to.

Six thousand years ago, Shapwick Heath, west of Glastonbury on the Somerset Levels, became home to neolithic those who built raised walkways to traverse the Avalon Marshes. So today, you may comply with the ancient Sweet Track and pay attention to booming bitterns and watch first-rate white egrets and marsh harriers hunting (in unique patterns) and, later in the year, marvelous starling murmurations. Reed warblers and bearded knockers additionally characteristic, and in case you’re lucky, you may trap a glimpse of an otter.

Threave Castle at the outskirts of Castle Douglas combines the possibility to look at masses of the natural world with the excitement of taking a ship across the river to the 14th-century fort on an island in the River Dee. Ospreys, peregrines (which nest on the battlements, now closed), and lots of different chicken species may be seen on the walk to the boarding point for the boat. Otters frequently hunt inside the river. The citadel becomes the home of Archibald the Grim, 1/3 Earl of Galloway, a fearsome warrior who often raided England.

Head out by way of the boat to Rathlin Island off the coast of Northern Ireland, home to both grey and not unusual seals that may be observed lazing approximately at the island’s seashores. On the island, head off on considered one of 8 signposted walks to try to spot the elusive golden hare (a genetic version likely unique to the island) or pay a go to to the captivating upside-down lighthouse that’s home to an RSPB nature reserve (£5 adult, £2.50 for child). Indulge your internal twitcher and look at nesting guillemots, kittiwakes, and puffins. Rathlin is imparting a secure haven for a resurgence of rare choughs and corncrakes for the avid birdwatcher. Plus, there is usually the danger of recognizing dolphins and whales at the ferry journey from Ballycastle (adult £12 go back,