deer at Richmond Park

Summertime is the perfect time of year to make the most of the brilliant walking trails throughout the UK, with many of these trails offering the natural beauty of wildlife in its undisturbed habitat.

From deer and hares to sea life, some of the best nature walks can be found on our doorstep. Here is a selection of the best UK walking trails to inspire your next staycation getaway.

Deer sightings at Richmond Park, London

Richmond Park is based in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. The park is inhabited by ancient trees and rare species of fungi, wildflowers, and birds. Here, you will spot red and fallow deer rut here from late September to late October, with a display of bottle-green ring-necked parakeets flying around the park.

This park walk is a steady 1-2 miles, with only an hour or so needed to complete. It is perfect for all ages and capabilities and is particularly enjoyable on a crisp autumn or winter morning. After the walk, discover the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens and treat yourself to breakfast or lunch at the cosy Pembroke Lodge tea rooms. If you want to stay close by, there are a selection of hotels surrounding the park making it easy to get to if you’re with children or grandparents.

Go shark and seal spotting at St. Agnes, Cornwall

At St. Agnes you can expect an amazing Cornish clifftop and beach experience with an abundance of wildlife. The coastal paths here are covered in orchids, attracting butterflies and bees, along with lizards and adders which are often sighted here.

The waters surrounding this spot in Cornwall are home to a variety of shark, including the blue shark, porbeagle and thresher shark. Seals and harbour porpoises are also found here, but are more visible in high summer, making this a fantastic coastal walking spot for marine wildlife spotting followed by an afternoon relaxing on the beach. Cornwall is popular year-round for campers, with a variety of sites suitable for the whole family in St. Agnes, such as Beacon Cottage Farm and Blue Hills Touring Park.

See brown hares on the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door hike, Jurassic Coast, Dorset

The UK is home to the amazing 630-mile-long South West Coast Path, with so many trails and hikes to choose from across this vast rural haven. Here, the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walking trail is brilliant for a moderate walk that displays stunning views and plenty of nature along the way.

The coastline walk is around 2.5 miles return and around two hours to complete, with the highlight of this trail being the sight of the Durdle Door rock formation in the English Channel. There is also the beautiful Man O War Beach along this trail, resembling an exotic beach on a tropical island.

At the heart of the Jurassic Coast is the natural wonder of Chesil Beach, which is home to Fleet Lagoon, one of the most wildlife-rich stretches of saltwater in the country. Both the beach and the lagoon are home to a wide variety of wildlife, such as little terns, brown hares, rare invertebrates, wading birds, and wildflowers.

Close by, there are exquisite cottages to rest in after a day of exploring east Devon. Sweetcombe Cottage Holidays have a selection of coastal cottages to choose from to ensure that you can enjoy the sea views from dawn to dusk. Heron and Robin Chalet are two of five chalets located on the sandy beach at Branscombe for a perfect coastal escape staycation.

Cranes at Hickling Broad, Norfolk

The Norfolk and Suffolk coasts boast countless wildlife hotspots, with Hickling Broad being one of the best to check out in Norfolk. Home to the crane, this serene nature preserve has calming waterside trails, boat tours, and birdwatching.

To encounter the cranes, February and March are the best months to visit, with the dance of the cranes taking place during mating season at this time of year. There are many more opportunities to spot other species here too, with barn owls, wild ponies and butterflies present throughout this section of the Norfolk broads.

Many visitors enjoy the day walking around the calming paths at Hickling Broad, making it perfect for families with children and older parties alike. If you are stopping overnight in the area, stay on the Broads in a boat for hire with luxury fleets available for an exciting and unique getaway.

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