Top Five Bird Reserves in Wales
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has some wonderful bird reserves in Wales for everyone staying in a Wales Holidays cottage; our selection of the top five are all open all year and are very much family oriented with visitor centres, nature trails and walks.
In Mid Wales, the Ynys-hir Reserve is situated between the Aberystwyth to Machynlleth road and the Dyfi estuary. It has Welsh oak woodland together with wet grassland and saltmarshes; wading birds, such as lapwings and redshanks, are present in the summer whilst ducks and geese arrive in the autumn. The Reserve has seven hides, two viewpoints, two nature trails and a Visitor Centre.
The Reserve at Lake Vyrnwy to the north-west of Welshpool is in spectacular location. It features a visitor centre, refreshments and an RSPB shop and choice of eight walks, five nature trails ranging from 2 to 5½ miles, three hides and bikes are available to hire to cycle along the 12 mile long lakeside road. Autumn arrivals at the lake include mallards, teals and little grebes and winter will bring migrants such as redwings, bramblings and fieldfares. Birds of prey at the Reserve are goshawks, peregrines, buzzards and red kites, plus hen harriers and merlins over the moorland.
The South Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve is in the west coast of Anglesey near Holyhead. This Reserve is good for birdwatching in spring and summer when from Ellin's Tower you can enjoy a close-up view of guillemots, razorbills and puffins raising their young on a cliff-side nesting colony; rare choughs can also be seen. Binoculars and telescopes are provided and live television pictures give you an even closer view of the nests. The Visitor Centre, incorporating an RSPB shop and café is open all year-round and Ellin's Tower from Easter to September.
Situated on the banks of the Conwy estuary in North Wales, RSPB Conwy has magnificent views of the Castle and the mountains of Snowdonia. It has events to suit beginners and young families to keen birdwatchers. Three nature trails (each with a hide) provide two miles of walking, a Visitor Centre, shop and a Coffee Shop which serves snacks and light lunches. For families, there's a self-guided Discovery Trail, “Bird and Bug Bingo” and all the tracks are pushchair-friendly.
With spectacular views of the Severn estuary, the Newport Wetlands Reserve in south-east Wales offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city. Autumn and winter are the best times of year for the birds when ducks, geese and swans visit the Reserve in large numbers. Breeding waders at the reserve in the spring include lapwings and oystercatchers; swallows and swifts will begin to arrive at the Reserve in late April and early May. Facilities include four nature trails of various lengths, a dog-walking route, picnic area, information centre, shop and a coffee shop.
See Wales Cottage Holidays information pages on Nature and Bird Reserves for details of all the RSPB Reserves..