Northumberland is known for being the least densely populated county in the UK, but of course the census doesn’t account for wildlife. In this respect, the diverse ecology of Northumberland’s dramatic, sweeping coastlines and idyllic countryside makes it the perfect haven for an incredible amount of birds, animals and marine life, and for many people Northumberland is the perfect place to experience nature up close by taking in one of its many guided wildlife tours.
Boat trips launch from many locations along the coast and travellers can expect to see Grey Seals, which congregate around the Farne Islands, Minke whales and the Harbour porpoises of Holy Island. The Grey Seal Cruise also gives visitors a great view of nesting birds along the cliff faces and is best taken in late Autumn/Winter, as this is the best time to see the thousands of new seal pups which are born every year. Enthusiastic ornithologists can also opt for the all-day bird watching tours, which are great for seeing Puffins, Razorbills and Terns.
Many visitors come in particular for a glimpse of the White Beaked dolphin, which can only be found in the North Atlantic Ocean. These dolphins are sociable and acrobatic, which makes catching a sight of them a thrilling experience as they have been known to playfully interact with boats and other marine life. The North East Cetacean Project is a research and conservation initiative which regularly surveys and collects new information about the conservation status of these amazing creatures, and it is possible to book a wonderfully informative, guided boat trip with their MARINElife Regional Officer for the North East.
Inland, it’s also possible to see an abundance of waders and nesting cliff birds, and Northumberland is home to deer, red squirrels, pine martens and adders, to name just a few of the countless common and uncommon species which populate its forests and wetlands. The Northumberland Wildlife Trust encourages people to report certain sightings – such as those of dormice and otters – directly to them, so there’s a good incentive to whip out your binoculars!
When considering a wildlife tour in Northumberland it’s also important to find the right accommodation. There’s plenty available and if you’re thinking about holiday cottages Northumberland has plenty to choose from. Often situated near the coastline, a cottage will suit anyone wanting to take it a boat tour or trip to one of Northumberland’s ancient isles, and there are also cottages available in many of Northumberland’s quaint villages and towns and in close proximity to the Northumberland National Park. Most sleep between 4 and 7 people, so they’re perfect for families or groups of wildlife enthusiasts who are looking for something a bit more relaxed than a hotel, but which will also provide all the mod cons of first class accommodation.