Best Beaches for British Nature

Right around Britain in one year with a seabird’s eye view … revealing the most beautiful, wildest beaches with the most exciting wildlife to be found there.

Tarbert and Handa Island – Famous for its seabirds, such as puffins, our seagull heads south down the spectacular Western Isles of Scotland to another country, Wales.

Over Harlech Castle, and a sand castle on an immaculate long beach, we discover orchids in flower in the remarkable dunes before heading on to the busy beach season at Sennen Cove in Cornwall.

Down there they’re after sharks – lovely harmless blue sharks. You can go out beyond Land‘s End and get face-to-face pictures of these graceful creatures. You stare at each other!

Now along the popular Cornish coast, famous for the Poldark TV series, to Kynance Cove, protected by the National Trust, and Cadgwith Cove a classic fishing village. Others fishing here include seals, not always popular with fishermen!

Our white bird, the gull, flies on and drops in at beautiful Bantham with big beaches at the mouth of the River Avon in Devon. Here it joins a little egret, a delicate heron with a great successful story in Britain where it started nesting not far from here, as an egret flies, past Lulworth Cove in Dorset …

…to Studland Bay and its brilliant beach, popular with both naturalists – and naturists alike! In a small area there are seahorses, all six British reptiles, and cute red squirrels on a wooded island in Poole Harbour.

Now we switch to another fine white bird, the osprey, migrating through on its way to winter in Africa. It fishes over rivers and sea, and we follow it down the pure River Glaven to the Norfolk coast at Cley, one of the best places for wildlife in Britain.

Along the coast for a seal boat trip to their beach, and on to one of the most spectacular bird sights in the world. In autumn and winter you can easily find “bird smoke”, as thousands of shore birds perform at Snettisham in Norfolk.

North up the east coast of England, with our little egret again, to Northumberland, past the protected Farne Islands and dramatic, Bamburgh Castle with its huge dunes and apparently endless beach, a great favourite for walkers.

Into Scotland where the controversial Trump golf course changed the dunes for ever near the estuary of the River Ythan. But it’s still a great area for wildfowl, waders and even a “superbird” – a King Eider called “Elvis”. He comes every summer but leaves this building for the winter! But we do see his selfie.

Winter storms batter Cullen and its white birds on the beach. Some may reach as far as Ardvreck Castle where the local red deer share the Scottish highlands with wild cats, pine martens and salmon.

And on as far north as we go, to Durness, not far from John O’Groats, with some of the wildest, remotest, emptiest beaches in Britain. But life is changing here, some winners, some losers. Salmon and mussel-farming, otters, tourists – they’re all connected as the song thrush starts singing in the spring, and our seagull flies on again around Britain.

See how this ambitious journey was filmed, with versatile cameraman Ross Birnie, who shows you where and when and especially how…
The Making of Best Beaches for British Nature