To celebrate BBC Wildlife magazine's 60th birthday, we asked 60 people from our wonderful network of writers, presenters, photographers and conservationists to share their favourite places in the UK for wildlife. Six of those places are in the Midlands.
This beautiful corner of the UK is famous for its stunning countryside and reserves, all teeming with wildlife. Vote for the one you love the most from the list below.
(Voting closes at midnight 10 March 2023)
Our favourite wildlife destinations in the Midlands
Middleton Lakes, Staffordshire
Nestled between the urban stretches of Tamworth and Birmingham, Middy reveals wild wonders with every visit, ringing with the squawks of herons, the ‘oi-oi-oi’s of nuthatches and the tapping of woodpeckers. In spring, Middy is JOY! I’d travel there specifically for my first cuckoo of the year. A good day in May and 10 types of warbler will grace your ears with their song.
RSPB Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
With more than 1,000 ancient oak trees and beautiful lowland heath, it traces a direct line back to the royal hunting ‘forest’ it once was. At its heart sits the Major Oak, a popular colossus said to have once housed Robin Hood. At any time of the year it offers tranquillity (once you’ve escaped the jousting!) and the chance to immerse yourself in a greener, wilder space. Sherwood is where I recharge my batteries and breathe more deeply – just for a moment.
Rutland Water, Leicestershire
The astonishing thing about Rutland Water is that it’s human-made – a reservoir that didn’t exist 50 years ago. Today, its tapestry of lagoons and wetlands are a paradise for anyone who loves being out in nature and is a ‘bad’ birdwatcher like me. In winter, Rutland Water is a hotspot for migratory species, hosting tens of thousands of ducks, geese, swans and even – I’m told – bitterns. It’s an impossible mixture of colourful, joyful, noisy birds.
Attenborough Reserve, Nottingham
I’ve been visiting this Wildlife Trust reserve for 15 years and it still surprises me. As well as 30 species of fish, highlights include sand martens, kingfishers, otters and, in winter, bitterns and flocks of murmurating starlings.
Haugh Woods, Hereford
This isn’t my local patch, rather one I adopt when visiting family, but it is fast becoming a favourite place for happy times in the wild. It’s nationally important for butterflies and moths, home to more than 600 species, including the rare pearl-bordered fritillary.
Rodborough Common, Gloucestershire
Patrick Barkham’s The Butterfly Isles inspired me to seek out all 59 native species, but on two wheels. Rides so far include to Dorset for silver-studded blues and Devon for clouded yellows, but nothing beats the mix at Rodborough. It is my perfect day out.