Posted on February 05, 2021
While many know The Cotswolds as the home for picture-perfect English villages and rolling country Wolds, this area of outstanding natural beauty is also home to a variety of wildlife that have either settled in The Cotswolds as a safe, peaceful haven or have been brought here to roam the natural world.
Here are some of our favourite spots to see interesting and unique wildlife in The Cotswolds. Many of the parks and gardens are closed right now but can’t wait to welcome back visitors once it's safe again, so keep these spots on your list of places to go.
On a walk around this secluded wooded valley in spring, you may be surprised to spot baby herons which look like tiny prehistoric birds. Herons have been coming to Woodchester Park for decades to nest, and you can spot these birds and their chicks from February through to May. Besides herons, Woodchester is a mecca for birds, whether they’re passing through or choose to remain in the safe haven to breed.
The park is also renowned for its nocturnal wildlife, specifically the Greater Horseshoe bat, one of the rarest bats in Britain. Secreted away in an old 19th century boat house, the bats roost in the roof space, and if you come down to the lake around dusk, you can watch them emerge for the night to hunt.
Plan your future visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org....
For those looking to explore gorgeous and unique flora and fauna in The Cotswolds, Colesbourne Gardens is home to England’s greatest collection of snowdrop blooms.
Its gardens are home to the most varied collection of snowdrops with over 350 varieties on show. Colesbourne has over 10 acres of private gardens and woodland walks straight from a fairytale, where you can spot cute woodland creatures among the snowdrops, hellebores, cyclamen and a wide variety of early flowering shrubs.
The Gardens also include an arboretum of rare trees collected over the past 120 years, many of which are Champion trees listed in the Tree Register of the British Isles.
Plan your future visit: https://www.colesbournegardens...
Highgrove is home to the Prince of Wales’ cherished gardens which have also grown to become a rich habitat for a variety of wildlife.
The Stumpery atmospheric garden draws inspiration from the Victorian concept of growing ferns amongst upturned tree stumps. An enchanting space, its stone-built water feature is an annual favourite spot for nesting wild ducks.
The garden’s most wild spot though lies within Highgrove’s peaceful Wildflower Meadow, a four-acre plot dotted with oaks, chestnuts, poplars and beech trees. Sanctuary to different wildlife throughout the seasons, the meadow was originally planted with a 32-species seed mix in 1982. In summer, bees are drawn to the sweet nectar of the wildflowers and as soon as it turns autumnal, sheep graze the meadow to help to tread the wildflower seed back into the ground.
Plan your future visit: https://www.highgrovegardens.c...
Berkeley Castle has over the years become more and more green as successive generations soften the castle walls with flowers. Today, the gardens specialise in scent and are renowned for their blooming roses in June. Besides its collection of rare plants, shrubs and trees, the grounds also include a Butterfly House with hundreds of butterflies flying freely in a tranquil indoor garden.
With 42 exotic species, the butterflies fly freely in the house’s tropical oasis and you can observe their life cycle up-close through the display of caterpillars and chrysalises. On a side note, the house is also home to the world’s largest moth!
Plan your future visit: https://www.berkeley-castle.co...
Build in 1970 at Bradwell Grove, Cotswold Wildlife Park was founded as a way to share a passion for nature with the outside world. Today, the wildlife park is one of the UK’s largest zoological collections with millions visiting each year to discover the beauty and diversity of the natural world.
Besides being home to 93 species of bird, large mammals including giraffe and lions and many more, the park also supports a thriving education programme, numerous endangered species breeding programmes and several vital conservation projects in the wild. Whether you want to discover incredible wolverines or bamboo lemurs, the Cotswold Wildlife Park is the place to go to explore wildlife from all across the world in one spot.
Plan your future visit: https://www.cotswoldwildlifepa...
Broadway Tower and Park is a quintessential, English countryside destination. Its tower is an iconic landmark in The Cotswolds, with breath-taking views from the top over 16 counties. The park is also known for its resident herd of red deer.
The herd is made up of around 18 does and a stag named William, who stands out from the rest with his majestic branched antlers.
Throughout the year it’s possible to book deer encounters and be guided through the park by Lewis Potter, who has lovingly looked after the herd for about ten years. Lewis is a recognised authority on deer husbandry and preservation and likes to share his knowledge on deer and wildlife protection with Broadway Park’s visitors.
Plan your future visit: https://broadwaytower.co.uk/
Birdland Park and Gardens was first established in 1957 in the Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water and was one of the first bird encounters to open in the UK. The beautiful setting is inhabited by over 500 birds including flamingos, pelicans, penguins and many more throughout the natural water habitat.
Birdland Park and Gardens is just a short walk from Bourton-on-the-Water’s centre, along the River Windrush. When visiting Birdland you can come and go throughout the day, coming back for feeding times while exploring the picturesque village too.
Plan your future visit: https://www.birdland.co.uk/