From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

Top UK nature reserves

We asked BBC Wildlife readers, which is your favourite nature reserve and why? Here are 21 reserves that you favoured. 

Published: August 8, 2014 at 10:00 am
Lock in for longer & save 50% - Get a year's subscription to BBC Wildlife for just £32.40

RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk. A great place to look for birds, including marsh harriers and bitterns, and a hotspot for swallowtails. Catherine Bullen


Salthill Quarry, Clitheroe (Lancs WT). It is in an unexpected place, around an industrial estate, and has fabulous meadow flowers including bee orchids. Rachel Meredith 

RSPB Troup Head, Aberdeen. Where else can you get such great views of huge gannet colonies without leaving the mainland? Jane Milloy

Radley Lakes (Earth Trust) - a brownfield site where the river Thames gravel has been excavated and the lakes filled in to varying extents. The diversity of habitats means something is always in season. Richard Comont

RSPB Ramsey Island, Abingdon has beautiful scenery. I visited it recently and saw seals, red deer, a little owl and lots of seabirds. Alex

RSPB Saltholme, Teeside. It's an example of what can be done even when you’re surrounded by industry. The reserve is so tranquil you forget where you are. Carrie Blake

RSPB Leighton Moss, Lancashire. I saw my first starling murmuration there. Helen Reynolds

Duke’s Wood (Notts WT). It's full of common spotted orchids resting under pumps called ‘nodding donkeys’. Emma Websdale

WWT Caerlaverock, Dumfries is a great place to see winter migrants such as whooper swans and barnacle geese. Tom Langlands

Askham Bog (Yorkshire WT). It’s a really special place and almost on my doorstep! Jane Thomas

RSPB Fowlsheugh, Aberdeenshire, for exciting seabird colonies, grey seals and bottlenose dolphins. I even saw a basking shark once. Genevieve Leaper

RSPB Coombes Valley, Staffs. A beautifully maintained, tranquil reserve that sits in a wooded valley, and the only place I have seen a pied flycatcher. Jim Kiddle

RSPB Arne, Dorset. It’s home to the giant raft spider, Dartford warbler, nightjar and marsh harrier, and all six of the UK's reptiles. Jackson

RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire for puffins, guillemots and gannets. Robert Fuller

Meadow Farm (Berks, Bucks and Oxon WT). Its meadows support a variety of disappearing plant species, including great burnet and true fox sedge. Great birdlife too, such as blackcaps, whitethroats and yellowhammers. Billy Clarke

Sudbury Water Meadows (Sudbury Common Lands Charity). Pure, natural beauty in all seasons. Nicki Dixon

RSPB Insh Marshes, Kingussie. It's a floodplain so changes daily. Jan Morse

Rutland Water (Lancs WT). It's the most natural of all I have visited in the UK, and a birdwatching oasis. Iolanda Frisina

RSPB Old Moor, Barnsley. Excellent wildlife including nesting bitterns. Darren Rochell

Skomer Island (South and West Wales WT) - a lovely habitat full of birdlife, wildflowers and rabbit burrows. Rhian Peto


Merkinch LNR, Inverness. A green gem 20 minutes from the centre of Inverness. You can walk along the seawall path to see herons and waders on the mudflats, or perhaps ospreys or the Moray Firth dolphins if the tide is in. Katy Martin


Sarah McPhersonFeatures editor, BBC Wildlife Magazine

Sponsored content