Some of the world’s largest dolphins live in British coastal waters, adders live in our woodlands and the fastest creature on the planet lives in our cities (no it's not a cheetah). Ellie Harrison and her team of wildlife experts star in BBC1’s new six-part nature series Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival (5.35pm, Sundays), they explain how these species are in decline and are in great need of our help.
Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival series producer Stephen Moss believes that tourism can help to fund their protection; he takes us through his top five nature spotting sites in Britain…
Blandford Forum, Dorset
Moss says: “The River Stour runs through the town and if you get up early in the morning you have a pretty good chance of seeing otters. They can be anywhere along the stretch of river. This species has made a remarkable revival from being on the brink of existence to having a healthy population. Just walk along the tow path to see them."
Top tip: Be very patient, quiet and go at dawn or dusk to increase your chances of seeing them.
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Farne Islands, Northumberland
For: Seabird, puffins, arctic terns and grey seals
Moss says: Someone once said the Farne Islands offers the most impressive wildlife spectacle in the Northern Hemisphere – well it’s certainly one of the most impressive spots I’ve seen. It’s absolutely surrounded by sea birds and they're almost close enough to touch.”
Top tip: Visit between May and July for a better chance of spotting them, and be careful of the arctic terns, they can be aggressive towards humans. "A hat is a good idea,” jokes Moss.
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Norwich Cathedral, Norwich
For: Peregrine falcons
Moss says: “As seen in the urban episode of the show, on top of the beautiful Norwich Cathedral with it’s absolutely stunning architecture, on the spire there are peregrine nests every spring and summer. The reason they are so special is because they are the fastest creatures on the planet. They can reach speed of up to 260 miles an hour – that’s faster than a Formula 1 car.”
Top tip: The local RSPB has helpfully erected a watch point below, complete with telescopes so you can see all the action from ground level.
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Somerset Levels, Somerset
Moss says: “It’s very special because it’s a wetland and nature area, which has been created from peat diggings, where they’ve dug out the peat for agricultural use, then turned the old peat diggings into a bird reserve. Now the reed beds are very beautiful, it’s a magical place. Top tip: Don’t worry, you don’t need your wellies – paths have been created so you can wander through the wetlands.
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Cardigan Bay, Wales and Moray, Firth
For: Bottle nosed dolphins
Moss says: “Both places are brilliant for dolphins. British dolphins grow particularly big, because of the cold water. I’ve been to Moray a number of times and I’ve seen them every time but once, and they’re there all year round."
Top tip: Local boats offer tours off the coast to see the dolphins up close, or if you get the tide right you have a very good chance of seeing them from the shore.
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