A trip to the countryside is a great opportunity to get closer to nature and in Northumberland, you will be spoilt for choice.
The region has plenty of wildlife credentials, including the country’s largest population of red squirrels, a coastline designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is even home to David Attenborough’s favourite place in the UK!
And if you are travelling with children, get them involved. A simple stroll can become an expedition, searching for bugs, pointing out wild flowers and listening out for birds. The RSPB has a host of downloadable activities, perfect for keeping everyone happy!
A wildlife wonderland
The extraordinary variety of habitats within the park ranges from woodland to bogs, marshy grasslands to sandy shores, all of which provide a home to local wildlife. Depending on when you visit, you might spot badgers and roe deer, shrews and up to seven species of bat, otters and many different birds of prey including ospreys.
Families with younger children should make sure they follow the Stick Man trail, made popular by Julia Donaldson. Don’t forget your activity pack from the visitor information centre, containing a trail leaflet, activity sheets, pencil, crayon and most importantly, pipe cleaners to make your Stick Man!
One of our Northumberland regional managers, Wendy Jennings, recommends you take at least a day or two to really appreciate everything that’s on offer. “Kielder is home to miles and miles of unspoilt countryside, it’s absolutely beautiful. A lot of visitors to Northumberland immediately think of the coast as a destination, but on the other side of the county is this stunning National Park.” There are unique wildlife events taking place throughout the year, including wildlife cruises, an osprey watch and bush craft activities, all perfect for young and old alike.
Don’t Miss: The wildlife garden in Leaplish Waterside Park either, with its raised pond, butterfly-shaped bed, drought and bog gardens and nest box demonstration area. There are adders, stoats, all manner of amphibians, dragonflies and butterflies galore, and not far away is the Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre. And as home to 50 per cent of the UK’s red squirrel population, there’s even a red squirrel safari you can take part in.
Search cottages near Kielder Water.
Set sail for a sea safari
The famed nature broadcaster David Attenborough declared the Farne Islands his favourite place in the UK to see “magnificent nature” at its best and it’s not hard to see why.
Take a boat from Seahouses harbour and as you arrive prepare to be deafened by the noise, with up to 150,000 birds packed onto the islands at the height of the breeding season. One of Europe’s most important seabird sanctuaries, there are 23 different species, including around 37,000 pairs of puffins as well as eider ducks, guillemots, razorbills, and four species of tern. It’s also home to a grey seal colony, with more than 1,000 pups born each autumn.
Once on-land, you can find a visitor centre, a medieval pele tower and a Victorian lighthouse as well as a variety of tours, some including a cruise around all of the islands, providing opportunity to view the thousands of sea birds on the rocks.
Search cottages in Seahouses
Throughout the region
Information, advice and regional events
Before your visit to the region, make sure you check out the Northumberland Wildlife Trust website which has lots of information on local reserves as well as a packed-schedule of events taking place throughout the year. You could learn to identify wildflowers, hear experts talk about their wildlife experiences, join a minibeast safari, or do some campfire cooking and much more!