Some of the most wild and wonderful places in Wales are home to an abundance of fascinating, iconic, rare and beautiful wildlife, but you might think spotting dolphins and red squirrels during your holiday is quite unlikely. What if we told you we knew exactly where to find some of these fascinating species? We’re going to take you on a little journey to help you experience some of the most spectacular Wales wildlife encounters.
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Dolphins in Wales
A spectacle that you’ll never forget: the first time you set eyes on a pod of bottlenose dolphins, jumping gleefully over the waves. Britain’s largest resident population of dolphins live in Cardigan Bay, while there is a chance you may spot their smaller cousins, harbour porpoises, along most of the Welsh coast. If you’re lucky, leisurely summer walks along the coast path will allow you to stumble upon these amazing marine animals basking in the sun-warmed water. To increase your chances of laying eyes on them though, hop on one of several boat trips in Cardigan Bay that go to the dolphin hot spots.
You’ll love: Capturing photos of your children’s faces as they look on in amazement at the Welsh wildlife.
Visit Wales knows all the secret spots where you are most likely to lay eyes on dolphins in Wales.
Stay in Cardigan Bay:
Grey seals in Wales
Every year, hundreds of grey seal pups are born on the beaches up and down the Wales coast between August and December, with Ramsey Island, just off Pembrokeshire, hosting one of the largest breeding colonies in the whole of the UK. Local boat trips offer first-hand insights into the locations of these funny creatures and many other types of Welsh wildlife. Other popular seal watching spots include the Marloes Peninsula, St David’s Peninsula and off the headland on Porthdinllaen in North Wales.
You’ll love: Stumbling upon Seal Bay on St David’s Peninsula during the 6-mile National Trust walk.
Stay in Pembrokeshire:
Red squirrels in Wales
While red squirrels are reasonably rare in Wales, there are still some populations in recorded areas, as well as several red squirrel projects that work to protect the endangered species. The best place to see them in the wild is Anglesey and in Mid Wales. The Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership offers loads of information on the protection of these furry creatures, including a sighting map! Autumn is good time to spot red squirrels because there are fewer leaves on the trees.
You’ll love: Using the red squirrel sightings map to take the family on an adventure to see these Welsh animals for yourselves.
Stay in Mid Wales:
Puffins in Wales
These much-loved, comical seabirds can be seen nesting on the beautiful islands around the Welsh coast, in particular, the wildlife-rich Skomer Island. Together with neighbouring island, Skokholm, it is home to the largest breeding puffin colony in southern Britain, with around 10,000 breeding pairs. Managed by the Wales Wildlife Trust, the Skomer day trip is an island adventure that even the children will love. In addition to its rich Welsh wildlife, the island is full of discovery, adventure and mystery.
You’ll love: Being whisked away from the mainland on a romantic island adventure.
Stay in Pembrokeshire:
Manx shearwaters in Wales
An estimated 350,000 breeding pairs of Manx Shearwater nest on the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast, making it the world’s largest colony. The best place to see these iconic birds is on the Welsh islands of Skomer, Skokholl, and Bardsey Island off the Llyn Peninsula. They’re usually spotted during spring, and sometimes until the end of July.
You’ll love: Visiting at dusk when you’re likely to see these black and white birds return to their burrows.
Red kites in Wales
Saved from the verge of extinction through several conservation programmes, these magnificent birds of prey are now a familiar sight in the skies above Mid Wales. The introduction of dedicated red kite feeding stations means that you can see the spectacle of over 100 red kites feeding at each location daily. So where are these feeding stations? You'll find the Llanddeusant Red Kite Feeding Station in the Brecon Beacons, the Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Centre in Pontewrd near Aberystwyth, and the family-run Grigrin Farm near the town of Rhayader.
You’ll love: Pulling up at a feeding station and watching the skies above you come to life with Welsh wildlife.
Stay in Mid Wales:
Ospreys in Wales
These magnificent birds of prey are still pretty rare, but several osprey projects are assisting with their revival. There are a couple of spots in Wales where you are likely to encounter them, including the Glaslyn Valley, and the Dyfi Osprey Visitor Centre in the Dyfi Valley. In 2011, it was here that ospreys bred for the first time in over 400 years. Today, the project continues to nurture further breeding of this impressive bird of prey.
You’ll love: The chance to see one of Wales’ rarest birds of prey.
Stay in North Wales:
Are you in awe of the magnificent variety of Welsh wildlife that you could encounter? Whether you’re travelling as a couple or family, everyone will be amazed by these natural and magnificent sights. Imagine the photo opportunities, the romantic moments, and the memories your children will treasure forever. Why not book your next escape in Wales close to some of these magnificent wildlife hotspots, and encounter everything from dolphins and seals to red squirrels and ospreys?
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.