Our islands are voted Britain’s favourites

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Latest update 28.01.2014 16:19

In this year’s BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards we’ve walked away with a clutch of top accolades. With more than 55,000 votes cast by the public, Brownsea Island in Dorset emerged as the overall winner in the Best Nature Reserve category, with the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast hard on its heels in third place.

Now in their third year, these awards celebrate the places and thank the people that have stood out over the past year and helped to make the UK’s wonderful coast and countryside even more special. In the Best Nature Reserve category the finalists were shortlisted by Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison and author and naturalist Mark Cocker before going to the decisive public vote.

The award for Brownsea couldn’t be more timely. At this time of year it welcomes vast flocks of overwintering birds, and from 8 February to 16 March the island will be open at the weekends for a privileged view of this annual spectacle.

'We’re absolutely delighted to have won this award,' said Claire Dixon, our visitor services and enterprises manager. 'Brownsea is famed for its internationally important numbers of winter birds and this year, for the first time, there’ll be a guide on hand in our public hide to help spot all those stunning seasonal visitors – from avocets and black-tailed godwits to teal and wigeons.'

As head ranger on the Farne Islands David Steel’s many Twitter followers know, the Farne Islands are possibly the most exciting seabird colony in England, with unrivalled views of 23 species, including around 40,000 pairs of puffins – and counting. It's also home to a large grey seal colony, with more than 1,500 pups born every autumn.

David said: 'It’s fantastic to receive this recognition from the public and a real honour to be named among the best in Britain. The Farne Islands are a truly stunning place, where you can experience the sights and sounds of one of Britain’s most impressive seabird colonies. A dramatic location with unrivalled views and spectacular wildlife encounters – the Farne Islands have it all.'