Wild Cornwall – 5 places to spot wildlife

13th June 2023

Summer is in the air and Cornwall’s coastline is teeming with birds and marine life…

Dolphins frolic in the bays, the call of seabirds echoes from the cliff ledges and seals hunt fish in the shallows, making it the perfect season for a wildlife walk.

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Check out some of our favourite places to spot some of Cornwall’s eye-catching indigenous wildlife:


Dolphins are resident year-round in Cornwall and – despite December’s stormy weather – as soon as the sun popped it’s head out in early January, a pod of dolphins were spotted playing in the waters of Mount’s Bay. A stroll along the coastline from Marazion to Mousehole is magical in any season, and if you cross the causeway to St Michael’s Mount, the turrets of this sea-bound fortress make a fantastic vantage point to spot dolphins in the bay.

WALK: Marazion to Mousehole
VISIT: St Michael’s Mount
STAY: Mousehole Accommodation


Head to Godrevy’s National Trust car park and strike out to the headland that nudges the iconic lighthouse immortalised by Virginia Woolf. On the far side of the promontory at Navax Point, you can peer down to an inaccessible cove to witness a colony of seals basking on the sand and fishing in the shallows. Or, take a spin along Newquay’s shoreline, stopping to watch the fishing boats puttering in and out of the harbour, often trailed by the whiskered noses of inquisitive seals hoping to share their catch.

WALK: Newquay Bay
VISIT: Blue Reef Aquarium
STAY: Fistral beach Accommodation


Photo Credit Adrian Napper.

Park at the National Trust car park by Bedruthan Steps and take the walk from here to Porthcothan, listening out for the call of seabirds from the rugged cliff ledges. Bring a pair of binoculars and you might be able to spot skylarks, kestrels, buzzards and even the rare Cornish chough.

WALK: Bedruthan Steps to Porthcothan
VISIT: Carnewas Tearooms
STAY: Porthcothan Accommodation


owl pentire headland
Photo credit @djedge77 on Instagram.

First light is the perfect time for a peaceful stroll along Newquay’s wave-lashed Pentire Headland, from where you can see for miles along the coastline in both directions. As well as taking in the scenery, keep an eye out for the short-eared owl, often seen flying low on the hunt for small birds. Finish your walk with coffee at the stylish Lewinnick Lodge, where you might also be lucky enough to spot passing dolphins from your window table.

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WALK: Pentire Headland, Newquay
VISIT: Lewnnick Lodge
STAY: Fistral Beach Accommodation


Photo Credit Adrian Napper.

A walk along the banks of The Gannel often provides welcome shelter from the coastal breeze on an early spring day. So it’s little wonder that up to 5,000 species of birds have been spotted here, sheltering from the harsh northern winters. Keep an eye out for the distinctive yellow feet of the Little Egret, a white heron with a long black beak that it uses to forage for worms as it wades along the mudflats at low tide.

WALK: The Gannel
VISIT: Fistral Beach, dubbed the UK’s surfing capital
STAY: Holywell Bay Accommodation

To find out more about Cornwall’s wildlife, bag a seat for the award-winning film, Wild Cornwall – Out on the Edge, showing in cinemas across Cornwall throughout February and March. Shot by wildlife enthusiast, Ian McCarthy, the film features Cornwall’s wildlife from peregrine falcons, dolphins and seals, to bats and otters.

Discover what to do when encountering a seal pup in Cornwall, ensuring their safety and your enjoyment of this special coastal wildlife moment.

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