52 Wildlife Weekends

A Year of British Wildlife-Watching Breaks

by James Lowen 

52 Wildlife Weekends – unique guidebook proposing a wildlife-watching break in Britain for every week of the year. Staycation suggestions stretch from Cornwall to northern Scotland and cover all aspects of natural history: mammals, birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, other insects, reptiles, amphibians, underwater life, plants and fungi.

Published:  04th Aug 2023
Size:  135 X 216 mm
Edition:  2
Number of pages:  248
Format AvailableQuantityPrice
ISBN: 9781804691311
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£16.99 £15.29

About this book

Bradt’s popular guidebook 52 Wildlife Weekends suggests inspiring itineraries for 52 unforgettable British wildlife-watching breaks, stretching from the Isles of Scilly to northern Scotland – each perfectly timed for every week of the year. Thoroughly updated to reflect Britain’s ever-changing natural history, this second edition integrates the latest information on the country’s most thrilling wildlife experiences, suggests new target species and showcases fabulous new locations.
Written by an award-winning author and experienced naturalist James Lowen, 52 Wildlife Weekends remains the only guide to package Britain’s nature-watching highlights into deftly timed, user-friendly holiday suggestions. Say it’s February and you want to watching otters. Or May: time for spring flowers and bewitching butterflies. Or July, and you fancy marvelling at dragonflies. Or October: the height of bird migration. Whenever in the year you get a chance to escape, this book suggests 48 hours’ worth of brilliant wildlife-watching – perfect for staycations, whether as a weekend or part of a longer holiday.
52 Wildlife Weekends suggests a year’s worth of short breaks celebrating the full range of Britain’s most exciting wildlife, from tiny silver-spotted skipper butterflies to gargantuan basking sharks, and from seabird skyscrapers to ostentatious orchids. Covering more than 40 counties or regions, this unique guide offers engaging descriptions, detailed directions (including grid references and postcodes), accommodation suggestions, and assessments of accessibility and (new for this edition) child-friendliness, plus 180 mouth-watering colour photographs.
Find out how, where and when to track down such thrilling creatures as beavers and basking sharks, eagles and otters, dolphins and dragonflies, glow worms and grey seals. Why not open the New Year on a real-life wild goose chase in the Inner Hebrides? Or make a spring pilgrimage to Yorkshire see truly wild daffodils? Or experience underwater life by peering into rivers for rare fish in Powys, snorkelling in Dorset, or rock-pooling in Devon? Or gawp at starling murmurations, shape-shifting through the autumnal sky, in Suffolk or Somerset.
Combining the very best of travel and wildlife guides, and covering both well-known spectacles and less familiar species, Bradt’s 52 Wildlife Weekends has something for everyone – wildlife experts and novice ecotourist alike.

About the Author

James Lowen ( has been immersed in all aspects of natural history since he was able to walk – his love for nature initially inspired by a chance encounter as a toddler with a buzzard amid South Devon’s leafy lanes. Upon fledging into adult plumage, James flirted with careers as a tropical conservationist and UK diplomat, before becoming an award-winning wildlife and travel writer, editor, guide and photographer. Upon his return to Britain from several years leading wildlife tours in South America and Antarctica, James had an irrepressible desire to renew his relationship with British nature. His books 52 Wildlife Weekends and A Summer of British Wildlife (winner, Travel Guidebook of the Year, 2016) are the result. James’s 11 other books include Bradt’s 52 European Wildlife Weekends (winner, Travel Guidebook of the Year, 2018) and Much Ado About Mothing (a travel narrative longlisted for the 2022 James Cropper Wainwright Prize).

Additional Information

Table of Contents

1 Wild goose chases and whisky chasers
Argyll & Bute for barnacle goose, Greenland white-fronted goose, otter, goose barnacle and golden eagle
2 Fens, meres and washes
Cambridgeshire for Chinese water deer, Bewick’s swan, whooper swan, hen harrier, bittern
3 Larking about
Hampshire for red deer, roe deer, wood lark, great grey shrike, hawfinch
4 Seal of approval
Durham for harbour seal, grey seal, long-eared owl, waxwing, snow bunting
5 Seaduck go Forth!
Fife & East Lothian for velvet scoter, long-tailed duck, Slavonian grebe, white-tailed eagle, sea buckthorn bracket
6 Touting for Tarka
Northumberland for otter, red squirrel, Mediterranean gull, willow tit, twite
7 Whirling waders, gathering geese, aerial attacks
Lancashire for otter, whooper swan, pink-footed goose, starling roost, scarlet elf cup
8 Kite-flying and Welsh witches
Powys for red kite, raven, dipper, witches beard, Wilson’s filmy fern
9 Dark Peak, white hare
Derbyshire for mountain hare, peregrine, curlew, raven, red grouse
10 From rifles to Ratty
Greater London & Kent for water vole, water shrew, grey heron colony, long-eared owl, rook roost
11 Serpents of the sandlings
Suffolk for adder, Mediterranean gull, Dartford warbler, brown hare, mossy stonecrop
12 Daffs in t’dale
North Yorkshire for wild daffodil, red grouse, goshawk, gannet, kittiwake
13 Wailing heath chicken run
Suffolk & Norfolk for stone-curlew, stoat, grape hyacinth, Breckland speedwell, fingered speedwell
14 Sand and deliver!
Devon for sand crocus, sand lizard, narrow-headed ant, rockpool species, cirl bunting
15 A rabble of reptiles
Dorset for eight species of reptiles, natterjack toad, sika, early spider orchid, emperor moth
16 Snakes and snake’s-heads
Gloucestershire & Wiltshire for wild boar, adder, goshawk, pied flycatcher, snake’s-head fritillary
17 Highland spring, famous grouse
Highland for black grouse, ptarmigan, osprey, Kentish glory, pine marten
18 Dukes and ladies
Kent for Duke of Burgundy, dew moth, lady orchid, bluebell, shingle plants
19 Fantastic fish – and fishers
Camarthenshire & Powys for sea lamprey, brook lamprey, badger, osprey, wood warbler
20 Pembrokeshire parrots, mystical Manxies
Pembrokeshire for Manx shearwater, puffin, gannet, bluebell, red campion
21 Does the lady’s slipper fit?
Yorkshire, Cumbria & Lancashire for lady’s slipper orchid, coralroot orchid, pearl-bordered fritillary, white-spotted sable, natterjack toad
22 Machair marvels, streaming skuas
Outer Hebrides for machair plants, corncrake, breeding waders, long-tailed skua, moss carder bee
23 Fluttering by flowers
Hampshire & Wiltshire for sword-leaved helleborine, musk orchid, fairy shrimp, argent & sable, pearl-bordered fritillary
24 Easy, tiger
South Wales for fen orchid, round-leaved wintergreen, scarlet tiger, beachcomber beetle, dune tiger beetle
25 Swallowtails and amazons
Norfolk for swallowtail, Norfolk hawker, scarce chaser, natterjack toad, nightjar
26 The purple empire
Hampshire for purple emperor, southern damselfly, nail fungus, lesser butterfly orchid, nightjar
27 Butterfly high season
Cumbria for high brown fritillary, mountain ringlet, large heath, dune helleborine, dark-red helleborine
28 Island intensity
Northumberland for Arctic tern, roseate tern, puffin, dune helleborine, ballan wrasse
29 There be dragons. and dolphins
Highland for northern emerald, northern damselfly, bumblebee robberfly, creeping lady’s-tresses, bottlenose dolphin
30 Snorkelling and skippers
Dorset for corkwing wrasse, Lulworth skipper, small red damselfly, heath tiger beetle, Dorset heath
31 Shark!
Cornwall & Devon for blue shark, basking shark, beaver, greater horseshoe bat, silver-studded blue
32 Basking on the Lizard
Cornwall for Cornish heath, bog asphodel, chough, basking shark, red-veined darter
33 Mad Manx and mountains
Ceredigion & Gwynedd for Manx shearwater, osprey, sand lizard, marsh helleborine, feral goat
34 Pelagic paradise
Isles of Scilly for Wilson’s storm-petrel, great shearwater, common dolphin, grey seal, rockpool life
35 Dragonfly delights
Essex & Kent for southern migrant hawker, scarce emerald damselfly, shrill carder bee, great crested newt, water vole
36 Chiltern challenge
Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire for edible dormouse, brown hairstreak, silver-spotted skipper, glowworm, Chiltern gentian
37 Webs, willows and wanderers
Suffolk for fen raft spider, willow emerald damselfly, convolvulus hawk-moth, badger, polecat/ferret
38 The Flamborough front
East Yorkshire for gannet, sooty shearwater, pomarine skua, red-backed shrike, rockpool life
39 Blubber and bucks
Norfolk for harbour seal, fallow deer, bearded tit, yellow-browed warbler, dune waxcap
40 Winner takes all
Suffolk for red deer rut, otter, bearded tit, bittern, little stint
41 Scilly season
Isles o