Winter wildlife walks
Enjoy a day out with us for the best wildlife walks during the winter months.
From spotting rare red squirrels to majestic deer, there is something extra-special about seeing the best of nature against a frosty winter backdrop.
Here are our top winter wildlife walks, ranging from difficult walks for the more dedicated walkers to easy strolls of an hour, all chosen by our nature expert, Matthew Oates.
A strenuous eight mile circular hike at Box Hill, with rough ground in places and steep slopes, slippery paths and many steps.
Takes approximately four hours, but allow plenty of time for rest stops and lunch.
Please don't start this walk without suitable footwear, clothing or provisions.
Wildlife: Belted Galloway cattle, kestrels.
Petworth House is a magnificent house set in 700 acres of landscaped deer park and the parkland is home to an array of characterful veteran trees. This is a moderate walk of four miles which should take approximately one and a half hours. The terrain is steep in places and can be muddy underfoot.
Perhaps the most famous walk on Dartmoor. From the imposing bulk of Castle Drogo, last castle to be built in England and following the breathtaking Hunters Path high above the river Teign. The path then descends and crosses the river at Fingle Bridge and returns along the river surrounded by Oak woodland. Mixed terrain, both flat and uneven, with steep descents and moderate climbs. Some areas may be muddy/slippery underfoot. This walk is three and a half miles long and should take approximately two - two and a half hours to complete.
Wildlife: Buzzards, dippers, grey wagtails, deer.
At almost 400ft (122m) deep and 3 miles (4.8km) long, Cheddar Gorge is England's largest gorge, and with its weathered crags and pinnacles, one of our most spectacular natural sights. It plays host to a varied community of specialised plants and wildlife, many of which you’ll get the chance to spot on this exhilarating four mile circular walk. Please don't attempt this walk in foggy or very windy weather and stay on the signed footpaths. In normal conditions, this walk will take one hour and forty minutes.
Wildlife: Peregrine Falcon, Soay sheep, jackdaws, buzzards, ravens.
A circular eight mile walk on Marsden Moor which takes you across open moorland, where the weather can change very quickly. Wear sturdy walking boots and warm clothing and waterproofs for this four and a half hour walk.
Wildlife: Mountain hare, curlew, grouse, golden plover, dunlin, merlin, short-eared owl, rare twite, shrews, voles, weasels, stoats.
Explore the beautiful woodlands at Formby, which is home to the rare native red squirrel on these easily marked paths, with a few short, steep slopes. This gentle walk is just under two miles long and should take about an hour to complete. Dogs are welcome but please keep them on a lead at all times.
Wildlife: Red squirrels.
This easy trail explores a fragment of the wilderness that once covered East Anglia and is two and three quarter miles long and will take approximately one and a half hours to complete. Only 0.1% of Britain’s fenland remains un-drained. Wicken Fen is the most accessible remnant of this habitat. It is our oldest nature reserve and home to many plants and insects, plus rare birds like bittern, and mammals, like otter.
Wildlife: Deer, bitters, marsh harrier, highland cattle, Konik ponies, water voles, roe deer, wigeon, teal and shoveler.
This short atmospheric walk of just over a mile, in a secluded part of the island at Borthwood Copse takes you through woods that are home to an Isle of Wight speciality, the red squirrel. The walk will take approximately forty minutes to complete. Dogs are welcome, but please keep them on a lead around wildlife.
Wildlife: Red squirrels.
This largely flat, gentle four mile walk will take you two hours and takes you through the varied habitats of the island’s only National Nature Reserve, plus an optional visit to East Bird Hide. There are a number of gates and bridges and two stiles on a very uneven path to the hide. Dogs are welcome, but please keep on a lead at all times.
Widlife: Brent geese, little egret, belted Galloway cattle, red squirrel.
Discover the limestone countryside of the southern Peak District, famed for its wildlife and geology. Starting at the tranquil Victorian landscape and woodland of Ilam Park, this easy two and a half mile walk takes you into Dovedale, an iconic and spectacular gorge carved out by the river Dove and you should complete it in just under an hour.
Wildlife: Grey wagtails, dippers.