Activities, Autumn Guide, Hostels

Autumn watch

Winter is coming. And the Animal Kingdom is making its preparations. Spend your autumn wowed by the wonders of nature and watch as creatures great and small busy themselves foraging, feasting and laying the foundations for their next generations.

Starlings
Palace Pier and West Pier, Brighton
Stay: YHA Brighton

Birds of a feather flock together. Autumn brings starlings back from Europe, flocking in huge numbers to create awesome aerial displays known as murmurations. Thousands of birds create twisting, turning masses of black in the sky. Brighton’s piers are popular roost spots for these birds. Visit the beach just before sunset from the end of October to see and hear tens of thousands of starlings in action.

Owls
Chestnut Centre: Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park
Stay: YHA Castleton Losehill Hall or YHA Edale

Fifteen types of owl, four types of otter, harvest mice, pine martens, polecats, red foxes and fallow deer. With more animals than Farthing Wood, this place is a haven for wildlife and a brilliant day out for all the family. Follow the Keeper tours start daily at 12.30pm and there’s a café too.

Twit twoo, who’s up for a Poo Trail? Chestnut Centre invites visitors to tour the park between 21st and 29th October, identifying wildlife from their waste. Other half term Halloween fun includes spooky craft and lantern making at the children’s workshop on Saturday 29th October.

Badgers
The Badger Bar, Rydal
Stay: YHA Grasmere

In autumn, badgers are building up their fat stores for the winter. A popular feasting spot for the badgers of Rydal village (30 minute walk from YHA Grasmere) is the back garden of The Badger Bar. Each night at dusk, people gather to watch the resident clan eat their evening meal. It’s a bonus that the pub serves their human patrons excellent fayre and there’s a quality range of ales too. Back at the ranch, our hostel grounds are home to owls and other wildlife including the odd deer.

Deer
RSPB Minsmere
Stay: YHA Blaxhall

RSPB Minsmere is home to one of the largest wild herds of red deer outside Scotland. It’s rutting season, which means a lot of strutting, bellowing and battling by the males of the species. The stags are best seen from the viewpoint on Westleton Heath which is open daily. In addition to the deer, you might spot the rare stone-curlews, green woodpeckers and rabbits. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of Britain’s most important areas for wildlife. YHA Blaxhall puts you and your binoculars right in the middle of it all.

While you’re in the area, don’t miss the aforementioned murmurations at nearby Dingle Marshes.

Seals
Ramsey Island
Stay: YHA St David’s

The secluded beaches of west Wales are popular pupping sites for Atlantic grey seals. Between August and November one of the largest breeding colonies in the British Isles takes up residence on Ramsey Island, just off the Pembrokeshire coast. Hop aboard a boat trip around the island to admire fluffy white pups and proud mums in their hundreds.

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