A Northumberland Wildlife Weekend For Every Season

Hauxley Nature Reserve

Wildlife Weekend Itinerary 

Northumberland offers some of the densest populations of wildlife in the UK, and listing all of them would be a near-impossible task. However, we know from chatting with the guests in our Beadnell holiday homes which visitors often come to see.

Our itinerary guides you through an unforgettable weekend for nature enthusiasts. The journey will take you from coastal birdwatching to marine life exploration, and from the bustling birdlife at the Hauxley Nature Reserve to the serene tranquility of Kielder Forest. Venture into the wild beauty of Northumberland…

Book your stay between 1/11/23 and 31/3/24 and use code WILDLIFE10 at checkout to receive a 10% discount

Friday Afternoon: Coastal Birdwatching

Drop your bags off, put on your walking boots, unpack your binoculars (if you brought them) and head out the door. Your wildlife weekend begins as soon as you arrive with some coastal birdwatching.

Staying on the coast means you can easily pick up the Northumberland Coastal Path anywhere between Berwick and Cresswell. From our apartments in Beadnell, you can easily access the path by heading to the beach and from there venture north or south. For a step-by-step guide, check out our Beadnell coastal walks guide.

In the summertime, light will be on your side – the sun won’t set until 9:30-10pm. In winter it can set as early as 3:30-4pm, so if you’re visiting then, you might want to spend the daylight hours of Saturday or Sunday birdwatching instead.

Keep an eye out for…

  • Oystercatchers, although they make themselves relatively easy to find with their peeping chirps and distinct red bill.
  • Razorbills, often bobbing atop the North Sea between spring and autumn and known for their characteristic fishing style of diving into the water.
  • Arctic Terns, these striking, migratory birds can be found between spring and autumn and often nest as a colony on Long Nanny Burn at Beadnell Bay.

Saturday Morning: Wildlife Discovery

Wake up bright and early Saturday morning and head 40 minutes south down the coast to Hauxley Nature Reserve and its award-winning Discovery Centre. This is one of the best wildlife-watching spots in the UK and gets up to 140 different bird species every year. 

As well as birds, Hauxley Nature Reserve is a great place to spot the rare red squirrel scampering up and down the trees. You may even see hares, otters and stoats. There are hides around the Discovery Centre’s fully-accessible trail where you can see the birdlife, as well as circular walks you can do. They run events throughout the year too, including workshops.

Once you’re finished, get a coffee with a view at the Centre’s Lookout Cafe.

Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed at the reserve as the entire area is dedicated to ensuring the wildlife remain undisturbed.

Saturday Afternoon: Marvel at the Marine Life

Only if the forecasts allow, head out to explore the local marine life up close and personal with one of Northumberland’s certified companies. 

Northumberland’s Farne Islands are an incredibly popular spot for diving with seals. You’ll need your full qualifications to scuba, but if you don’t have them, you can snorkel with the seals instead. Fifth Point Diving offer great options for both but they sell out fast!

If you’d prefer not to be under the sea, how about an afternoon kayaking? 

Don’t be surprised to see dolphins leaping out the water too – they’re often spotted playing on the horizon of the North Sea.

Sunday: Take your Pick

Between March and October: Farne Islands 

Finishing off your Northumberland wildlife weekend is a Farne Island’s boat trip. Regardless of the time of year, wrap up warm for a seaward day trip around this archipelago of 28 islands. The Farne Island’s are famous for the breeding colonies they attract every year. 

The wonderfully comical puffins gather in hoards of up to 43,000 pairs from the end of March and a are huge attraction for the area. By May and June, you’ll be able to spot the freshly-hatched pufflings and yet by the end of August, they’ll have mostly left. 

As well as puffins, visitors can spot nesting shags, guillemots, gannets and terns. 

The Farne Islands are also home to thousands of Atlantic grey seals that breed here every year. While many seals live here year-round, they come in numbers with the puffins around March. By the summer, you’ll find them in the thousands sunbathing on the craggy shorelines of the islands and in autumn they’ll be accompanied by the tiny balls of white fur that are their pups. 

Island accessibility varies, but dogs are never allowed on the islands so that the nature remains undisturbed. 

These boat trips depart from Seahouses, just a four-minute drive or a beautiful one-hour walk from our Beadnell holiday cottages.

 

Between November and February: Kielder Forest

A slightly further drive from the coast, Kielder Forest is around a 1h45 drive from our Beadnell apartments. At 60,000 hectares, you could go back to Kielder Forest time after time and still find something new. 

50% of the UK’s red squirrels live in Kielder, and winter can be a great time to see them as there are fewer leaves are the trees, making them easier to spot. It’s not uncommon to see wild deer on a walk through the forest too, as well as badgers and otters. If you’re really lucky, you could even spot the elusive pine marten.

Forestry England has a great number of trails that also treat you to the best of Kielder’s landscape. Choose whichever suits the difficulty and distance you’d prefer.

The beauty of Northumberland lies not only in its stunning landscapes but also in its vibrant biodiversity. This wildlife weekend itinerary is an invitation to step out of your daily routine and plunge into the raw, untamed beauty of Northumberland’s wilderness. 

Whether you choose to follow the itinerary as laid out or pick and choose based on your preferences, Northumberland and it’s wildlife await. It’s also worth keeping up to date with the events that the Northumberland Wildlife Trust host for guided adventures in the area. 

Book your stay between 1/11/23 and 31/3/24 and use code WILDLIFE10 at checkout to receive a 10% discount

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