Nestled along the southwestern coast of the British Isles, Cornwall is an enchanting land that boasts an exceptional array of charismatic creatures in their natural habitats.
From the majestic humpback whales gracefully breaching in Falmouth Bay to the playful dolphins and basking sharks frolicking in Sennen Cove, Cornwall’s wildlife never fails to captivate.
So, embark on this extraordinary journey with us, as we cover some of the best wildlife watching locations one can visit.
Unveiling The Hidden Wonders: Top Wildlife Watching Locations In Cornwall
Here are the top locations for wildlife watching in Cornwall:
1. Lizard Peninsula
The Lizard Peninsula is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, with its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife.
Explore the South West Coast Path and spot dolphins, basking sharks and seals in the turquoise sea. You will also discover rare Cornish Choughs with their red legs and falcons nesting on the cliff tops.
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust offers guided tours and provides insights into the local fauna. And don’t forget to visit the Lizard Point, where you might even get a chance to glimpse at the passing Humpback Whales.
2. Falmouth Bay
Falmouth Bay is a treasure trove for marine life lovers.
Experience the exceptional array of wildlife, including Bottlenose Dolphins and seals, during boat trips. Of course, you’ll also catch a glimpse of marine birds like the Mediterranean Gull, Storm Petrel, and the Black Guillemot among others, gracefully gliding overhead. You may find yourself revelling in the natural beauty of the south coast, while observing whales such as Fin Whales and Minke Whales.
The nearby estuaries and the vast array of marine wildlife that thrives there makes Falmouth Bay an incredible destination for wildlife spotting.
3. Land’s End
Land’s End offers a stunning natural environment where you can witness the magic of Cornwall’s wildlife.
Indulge in a stroll along the cliff tops and watch Harbour Porpoises playfully swimming in the sea. Make sure to keep an eye out for the occasional whale sightings. Land’s End is also home to small colonies of charismatic creatures like Cornish Choughs, Gannets, Shags, Razorbills, and Grey Seals.
Make sure to visit this iconic landmark for an experience that will be etched in your memory for a long time.
4. Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), perfect for immersing yourself in nature and spotting Cornwall’s vast array of wildlife.
This ancient moorland is home to wild horses and a variety of birds, including the European Golden Plover, Common Buzzard, Meadow Pipit, Lesser Redpoll, Grasshopper Warbler, and Barn Swallow among many others.
Experience a leisurely stroll and breathe in the fresh air while admiring the visually pleasing landscapes. And make sure to revel in the tranquillity of this exceptionally scenic area.
Also, keep an eye out for wildlife sightings of Barred Grass Snakes, Bank Voles, Brown Big-eared Bats, and Red Foxes, as you explore the beauty of Bodmin Moor.
5. Woodland Valley Farm
Woodland Valley farm is a haven for wildlife lovers seeking a close encounter with nature.
Set in the heart of Cornwall, this enchanting location offers opportunities to spot a wide range of wildlife in their separate habitats. They include bats, reptiles, otters, amphibians, Roe Deer, and other invertebrates.
Explore the farm’s delightful trails, meadows, woodlands, and keep your eyes peeled for the diverse array of birds from Curlews to Kingfishers and other beautiful creatures that call this place home.
6. West Cornwall
Explore West Cornwall’s visually stunning landscapes and discover its abundant wildlife.
You can visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, and head to Godrevy Point. There, you’ll get an opportunity to spot seals and birds like the Little Egret, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Chiffchaff, and the globally threatened Aquatic Warbler, in their natural habitat.
On a sunny day, the sparkling waters of Sennen Cove beckon, with the chance to glimpse dolphins and Basking Sharks.
7. The Cornish Seal Sanctuary
Located in Gweek, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a must-visit destination for seal lovers.
Get up close and personal with the rescued Grey Seals and learn about their rehabilitation, release, and conservation. You can also witness the incredible work carried out by the dedicated team of the sanctuary, and gain a deeper understanding of these magnificent creatures. And while you’re there, make a positive impact by supporting their conservation efforts.
The facilities of the sanctuary include public toilets and parking spaces, making it an extremely convenient wildlife watching destination for families.
8. North Coast
The North Coast of Cornwall offers a mesmerising mix of rugged cliffs and thriving wildlife.
Along with enjoying the spectacular scenery, spot wildlife like Leatherback Turtles, octopus, a variety of sharks, and dolphins, Grey Seals. Molluscs like Dog Whelks, clams, Common Periwinkles, mussels, cuttlefish, limpets, snails and slugs can also be spotted.
You might be lucky enough to spot marine fishes, such as the Ocean Sunfish, which are common in this area. And witness the Peregrine Falcons, Oystercatchers, and Lapwings as they soar above you.
Don’t forget to explore the National Trust-managed Trevose Head, where you might even encounter the enchanting occurrence of a dolphin stampede.
9. Camel Estuary
Located on Cornwall’s North Coast and designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Camel Estuary is a haven for wildlife lovers.
Marvel at the rich variety of birds, including Mute Swans and Cormorants, and the occasional Osprey and Kingfisher, that inhabit this designated area. Take leisurely walks along the estuary during low tide to spot seals basking on the sandbanks. This estuary is also frequented by the Bottlenose Dolphin and the occasional whale.
10. Trevose Head
Located on Cornwall’s stunning North Coast, Trevose Head is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.
Spot seals sunbasking on the rocks and enjoy the sight of marine animals like Basking Sharks, Bottlenose Dolphins, porpoises, whales and the Ocean Sunfish gracefully swimming in the sea. And marvel at the beauty of Cornwall’s seabirds including the Black-back Gull, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Shag, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Raven, Fulmar, and the Razorbill.
You can also engage in a relaxed walk along the cliff tops and revel in the exceptional wildlife watching opportunities this area has to offer.
Remember, when engaging in wildlife watching, always respect the animals and their habitats. Keep a safe distance, follow guidelines from the National Trust and the RSPB reserve, and appreciate the privilege of witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural element.
11. Mutton Cove
Situated on the southern coast, Mutton Cove is a wonderful place for wildlife enthusiasts to explore. This idyllic spot offers stunning views of the sea and is a home to a diverse range of marine mammals and sea birds.
From Mutton Cove, visitors can often spot dolphins gracefully swimming in the waters and witness the magnificent sight of birds during their migratory seasons. The best time to visit Mutton Cove is during the summer months when the sea is calm, and the chances of spotting these majestic creatures are at the highest.
12. Pentire Point
Pentire Point is a must-visit location for anyone seeking encounters with North Cornwall’s abundant wildlife. This stunning coastal headland is renowned for its vibrant birdlife, with the iconic Cornish chough being a regular visitor. Perched on the cliffs, visitors can observe these distinctive red-regged birds soaring gracefully across the sky.
Pentire Point also provides an excellent vantage point for spotting whales. For the best experience, visit Pentire Point during the spring and autumn months when bird activity is at its peak.
13. Pendennis Point
Situated near Falmouth in Cornwall, Pendennis Point is a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
This headland overlooks the picturesque Falmouth Harbour, offering amazing views and excellent opportunities for spotting marine mammals, such as the harbour porpoise. Summer months are particularly ideal for visiting Pendennis Point as it coincides with the pupping season, when seals can be seen nurturing their young.
Witnessing these heartwarming interactions amidst the natural beauty of Pendennis Point is truly a remarkable experience.
14. Mount’s Bay
Mount’s Bay is a wildlife-watching paradise located on the south coast of Cornwall. This stunning bay is home to a rich array of marine life, including dolphins, which can often be spotted playfully swimming in the pristine waters of the bay. It also attracts a diverse range of sea birds, adding to the charm of this coastal gem.
Among Cornwall’s wild wonders, a symphony of nature unfolds, inviting all wanderers to embark on a journey of wildlife watching. From the cliffs of Land’s End, where seabirds dance with the playful wind to the woodlands of Bodmin Moor, where elusive creatures scutter playfully, Cornwall’s untamed beauty ignites the soul.
Here, vibrant butterflies flutter like delicate watercolour strokes, and mischievous otters perform their aquatic ballet in sparkling rivers. The call of the rare choughs resonates through hidden valleys, echoing tales of resilience and grace.
So, open your eyes wide, witness the grand spectacle of nature, and let the wild spirit of Cornwall guide you on your wildlife adventure.
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