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Eight of the UK’s best wildlife reserves: readers’ travel tips | Parks and green spaces

Winning tip: Soup of biodiversity, Gwent

Occupying the last remaining piece of fenland on the Gwent Levels is Magor Marsh nature reserve. This is low-lying land, bordering the urban spread of Chepstow and Newport, and is a special place for wildlife, with big skies overhead and miles of waterways that are not only a soup of biodiversity but protect the area from Severn estuary floods. At Magor Marsh you can walk along boardwalks near where monks once worked to reclaim the land from the sea, through reed beds with Cetti’s warblers singing wildly, water voles dashing off, the sound of distant cuckoos floating on the air and plenty of waterfowl. If you are really lucky you may catch the splash of an otter or, by peering into the ancient reeds, spot a magnificent diving beetle glistening in the water.
Free to enter, no dogs permitted, gwentwildlife.org
Gemma Bode

Croydon butterflies

A newly emerged Glanville Fritillary butterfly at Hutchinson’s Bank, Surrey.
A newly emerged Glanville fritillary butterfly at Hutchinson’s Bank, Surrey. Photograph: Stephan Morris Photography/Alamy

Croydon may be the last place you’d expect to find a wildlife paradise but if you head south-east of the town into the North Downs and Hutchinson’s Bank, you won’t be disappointed. Off Featherbed Lane in New Addington, the reserve is home to 40 of the UK’s 59 butterfly species, several varieties of orchid and a host of other invertebrates and wildflowers. It is a true green-space gem. Paths (some quite steep) crisscross the dry valley over the chalk grassland meadows and along woodland

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Eight superb wildlife reserves in UK: readers’ travel tips


Image source : theguardian.com

From otters near Chepstow and myriad butterfly species in Croydon to ospreys in the Highlands, our readers celebrate nature nationwide Occupying the last remaining piece of fenland on the Gwent Levels is Magor Marsh nature reserve. This is low-lying land, bordering the urban spread of Chepstow and Newport, and is a special place for wildlife, with big skies overhead and miles of waterways that are not only a soup of biodiversity but protect the area from Severn estuary floods. At Magor Marsh you can walk along boardwalks near where monks once worked to reclaim the land from the sea, through reed beds with Cetti’s warblers singing wildly, water voles dashing off, the sound of distant cuckoos floating on the air and plenty of waterfowl. If you are really lucky you may catch the splash of an otter or, by peering into the ancient reeds, spot a magnificent diving beetle glistening in the water. • Free to enter, no dogs permitted, gwentwildlife.org Gemma Bode Continue reading…

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Favourite UK riverside walks: readers’ travel tips



a close up of a pond surrounded by palm trees: Photograph: Alamy


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Alamy

Hundreds of you sent us tips on riverside walks, ranging from city strolls to hikes to be tackled over several days. Here are some of the best

Winning tip: Ouse source to sea, Sussex

If you have a long weekend to spare, track the River Ouse from source to sea. Starting near Horsham in West Sussex, the 42-mile Sussex Ouse Valley Way passes through both the High Weald Area of Natural Beauty and the South Downs national park. You will cross fields and walk through woodland as well as the extensive Nymans Garden, owned by the National Trust. The route passes under an impressive Victorian railway viaduct near Balcombe and takes in the historic county town of Lewes before a stretch of flat riverside walking as you approach the coast and the finish at Seaford Bay in East Sussex.

Alison Field

Quiet flows the Don, Sheffield

The “five weirs” route along the River Don from Lady’s Bridge in Sheffield to Meadowhall is a lovely six-mile walk (see gpsroutes.co.uk). At Meadowhall you can head back to town along the canal, or continue to Rotherham along the river (three miles). The path is mostly flat and wide, so is suitable for different levels of ability and there are public transport options (tram, train, bus) to easily return back to your starting point. Lots of options for food and drink at either end. It’s surprisingly quiet given its location, with herons, kingfishers and even

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