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Wildlife watching in Cornwall

Cornwall truly is a spectacle place for wildlife. Whether it is grey seals, dolphins or basking sharks we have them all and much more besides. Even Orca whales have taken to visiting our shores and with a little local knowledge you can really improve your chances of an amazing encounter.

Seals in Cornwall

We are very lucky to be able to find seals all around Cornwall’s coast and you can often spot them bobbling in the water or sun bathing on a rock. One of the best places to see them in the wild is at Mutton Cove near Godrevy Point. This little beach is home to a large colony of grey seals that can easily seen from the clifftop above. But for an even more up-close experience the wonderful Gweek Seal Sanctuary makes a fun day out. This charity cares for hundreds of injured or orphaned seals each year and highlights include watching the exuberant feeding time or viewing the seals swimming through the glass-sided tanks.

Dolphins are Cornish residents too

Bottlenose dolphins are also resident in Cornwall’s waters but seeing them is often just a matter of chance. Some of their known hang-outs are places such as Mounts Bay and Falmouth Bay and they are often spotted by passengers on the St Mawes or Flushing ferries. However, it may be worth considering an adventure with Padstow Sealife Safaris who take passengers out on a 25 miles journey along the coast and dolphins are among the many creatures they hope to find.


One of the most impressive summer visitors are the basking sharks, which can measure up to 12 metres long! These gentle giants are completely harmless, come to Cornwall between April and October and are sometimes encountered by swimmers, kayakers and paddle-boarders close to shore.

Other wildlife to look out for

One of Cornwall’s most elusive mammals are our otters, although there are populations of them in our rivers, especially in the River Camel, they are very shy and rarely seen.

However, another unusual encounter with an equally shy animal can be experienced in woodlands near Ladock. In 2017 Cornwall Wildlife Trust reintroduced beavers here, the project has been a great success and now the trust organises walks at dusk to see these endearing critters.

In recent years the numbers of wild deer in Cornwall’s woodlands have been steadily increasing but like the otters they can be hard to see more than a fleeting glimpse of. Luckily at Prideaux Place in Padstow you can visit one of the oldest parks herds of fallow deer in the country.

That’s just a taster, there’s so much to experience! Here’s a few more highlights to inspire you:
• Squirrels at Tehidy Country Park
• Penguins, otters and Red Pandas at Paradise Park
• Owls at the Screech Owl Sanctuary
• Donkeys at Flicka Donkey Sanctuary
• Lions at Newquay Zoo.

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