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The Most Instagrammed Nature Reserves

August 1, 2022
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bird nest found in the bird egg identification chart

Nature reserves are vital to the conservation of many important bird and wildlife species here in the UK, as well as beneficial ecosystems and vital plants. They give these species a safe habitat to grow and thrive. And, with some island nature reserves not even allowing people to step foot in the same habitat as the wildlife they seek to protect, it’s safe to say they are fulfilling their goals of conserving species for the good of the world and wildlife enthusiasts.

There are 225 nature reserves here in the U.K.[i], and they work to preserve many rare bird species of our country, including the lesser spotted woodpecker, nightingale and goshawk. However, those that are open to the public give avid birders the chance to get up close and personal with rare and interesting birds and help safeguard their dwindling numbers.

So, whether you’re hoping to spot some rare birds or are looking for an educational day out, a nature reserve is just the place! And we really do love them in the U.K. We’ve taken to Instagram to find the most popular nature reserves across the country, so you know where to get the perfect pictures in between a day jam packed with knowledge, scenery and incredible wildlife sightings.

So, if you’ve attracted a range of garden birds to your feeders and are on the lookout for some new feathered sightings, here are the most popular nature reserves on Instagram, and the birds that you should look out for when visiting!

 

Nature Reserve # Number of Posts Location Known For
Sherwood Forest #sherwoodforest 165,322 Nottinghamshire Nightjars, stock doves, tawny owls
The Lodge #thelodge 156,022 Bedfordshire Green woodpeckers, spotted flycatchers, hobbies
Dungeness #Dungeness 138,703 Kent Bitterns, marsh harriers, wheatears
Morecambe Bay #morecambebay 69,512 Lancashire Curlews, redshanks, knots
Fairy Glen #fairyglen 50,333 Highland Bullfinches, buzzards, spotted flycatchers

 

1.      Sherwood Forest

Yes, the Sherwood Forest. The infamous home of Robin Hood and his merry men is a beautiful nature reserve cared for by the RSPB, and it has much more than folklore and history to entice you – although there’s no doubt that its rich past has helped make it the most instagrammed nature reserve of the U.K.

With rare birds including the lesser spotted woodpecker, cuckoos and woodlarks all hiding between the trees, not to mention beautiful species such as treecreepers, goldcrests, tawny owls and woodcocks, there’s something for every avid birder hidden in Sherwood Forest. Or, if you’re more interested in plant life, you won’t want to miss the Major Oak, a tree estimated to be somewhere between 800 and 1,100 years olds – and still going strong!

Plus, with free entry and 1,049.6 acres[ii], it’s easy to make a day of it. Located in the beautiful county of Nottinghamshire, Sherwood Forest is the perfect place to lose yourself, spot some birds, and take some Insta-worthy snaps.

2.      The Lodge

Coming in second on our list of most Instagrammed nature reserves is the picturesque Lodge Nature Reserve and Gardens. With a rich conglomeration of wildlife, plant life and heritage experiences, the Lodge has something for everyone, including beautiful landscapes and animals to catch the perfect Instagram pic.

Amongst the house and gardens of this beautiful nature reserve are many incredible birds for you to look out for. Recent sightings include fieldfares, goldfinches and two magnificent birds of prey, the hobby and the red kite.  Plus, if you time your visit to the warmer seasons of spring and summer, you may spot even more wildlife, from lizards basking with their young to dragonflies and butterflies, or witness the heather turning purple. However, it’s important to know that the Lodge doesn’t allow dogs, other than guide dogs, on any of its property, except for the Skylark trail.

Entry to the Lodge and Gardens is free, although donations are more than welcome to keep this beautiful nature reserve available to you and the wildlife it protects. You can find the Lodge on the outskirts of Sandy, a charming market town in Bedfordshire, which is definitely worth a visit while you’re in the area.

3.      Dungeness

You may have heard of Dungeness, but were you aware that you can find one of the most important nature reserves not far from the sea of this headland? The coastal location gives this nature reserve miles of marshy grassland, fresh water pits, open shingle and incredible meadows of wildflowers. Naturally, this makes it a popular spot for birds, wildlife and Instagram-worthy shot hunters.

There’s plenty of intriguing wildlife to keep little and large people interested for a day spent in Dungeness. Some of the most magnificent birds you can spot in Dungeness are marsh harriers, wheatears and bitterns, who also breed there in the spring. On top of the beautiful birds you’ll find around the marshlands of Dungeness, you’re walk around this reserve will be surrounded with flowers of all colours.

You can find Dungeness and its nature reserve on the coast of Kent. Although there is a beach in Dungeness, it’s a shingle beach, so don’t expect sunbathing to be the perfect end to your day trip! To get into Dungeness nature reserve, there is a charge of £2.50 for children and £5 for adults, although there are discounts for students.

 

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4.      Morecambe Bay

Many of us can agree that there’s nothing like a day at the beach, but this beach is a rather special one. Morecambe Bay is one of U.K.’s beautiful beaches, and it comes with a vast array of incredible wildlife. The RSPB is working hard to restore many of the important habitats that surround Morecambe Bay, but one of the best spots to go birdwatching around Morecambe Bay is the village of Hest Bank.

From the vantage point of Hest Bank, you can see a range of wildlife, in particular sea birds. Bitterns, oystercatchers, knots and curlews are all popular visitors to Morecambe Bay, though you can expect to see a lot of different birds during winter, when migratory species have settled. Although the land of Morecambe Bay isn’t controlled by any charity, we’d recommend keeping any dogs on leads, particularly during winter. Many of the birds you can see at Morecambe Bay throughout winter will have struggled during their migration, and the disturbance from dogs and curious humans can sap their energy reserves.

 

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5.      Fairy Glen

A little ways out from Inverness, Fairy Glen is as magical as its name suggests. With charming footpaths winding through leafy woodland and passing by incredible waterfalls, Fairy Glen is an incredible day out in the Scottish Highlands.

Of course, the beautiful landscapes attract beautiful birds. Spotted flycatchers are all over the Fairy Glen in summer whereas song thrushes can be heard throughout winter, and buzzards, long-tailed tits and bullfinches are year-round residents. Plus, spring and summer sees an array of beautiful flowers, from primroses to water avens.

Fairy Glen is free to enter, and you can take dogs all around. Plus, a 5 minute drive away will take you to Chanonry Point, the perfect scenic spot where you’re likely to spot some dolphins, seals and other aquatic life – the perfect Insta-worthy end to the perfect day!

 

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Sources

[i] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-nature-reserves-in-england

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherwood_Forest

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