Wildlife spotting by train

1 March 2023

Get closer to nature this World Wildlife Day and go by train! In celebration of World Wildlife Day, we've highlighted some picturesque train journeys that easily connect with nature reserves, wetlands and wildlife habitats.

Travelling by train is one of the greenest ways to travel, especially when combined with bus, walking and cycling, so by visiting these places car-free, you'll be helping our wildlife habitats and the environment too.

Craigellachie National Nature Reserve

Highland Main Line

A short 10 minute walk from Aviemore Railway Station will lead you to the edge of the Craigellachie Nature Reserve. The area provides a mixture of birch woodland, open glades and tree-fringed lochs, rising to a summit with superb panoramic views across the Cairngorms National Park.

White signal box next to train tracks
Highland Main Line

Great Orme

Conwy Valley Line

Explore the rich wildlife of the Great Orme, Llandudno. In the summer look out for breeding colonies of seabirds that make the spectacular cliffs their home and clouds of butterflies can often be seen feeding on the wildflowers. Take the Great Orme Tramway or the cable cars for an exciting way to rest your legs. More itineraries across Wales here.

Kentish Wildlife Reserves

Darent Valley Line

The Darent Valley sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is home to precious chalk grassland habitats, preserved by Kent Wildlife Trust. Discover three nature reserves with a refreshing walk from Otford Station to Polhill Bank Nature Reserve, onwards to Fackenden Down Nature Reserve, ending with Kemsing Down Nature Reserve. More details of the route can be found here.

Person walking through the countryside with large tree on the left
Darent Valley countryside. Photo: Sarah Newman

Norfolk Broads National Park

Bittern Line

A journey along the scenic Bittern Line takes you through of Britain's largest protected wetland areas, the Norfolk Broads National Park. Leave the train at Hoveton & Wrexham Station to take a boat trip or hire your own boat to get even closer to nature. For an experience off the beaten track, leave the train at Salhouse and take a pleasant two-mile walk to Salhouse Broad which can often be more peaceful and quieter than other areas.

North York Moors National Park

Esk Valley Railway

With a large part of this route located in the North York Moors National Park, a journey along the Esk Valley Railway is ideal to grab some fresh air and get closer to nature. Travel through scenic Yorkshire countryside, passing charming villages and rolling green hills, towards the seaside town of Whitby there's plenty to see right from the train window.

Green countryside with train parked at station
Esk Valley Railway

RSPB Leighton Moss

Furness Line

RSPB Leighton Moss boasts the largest redd bed in north-west England and is home to a wide range of spectacular wildlife. Access to the nature reserve is less than five minutes' walk from Silverdale Station and arriving by train means you'll be treated to some spectacular views along the Furness Line on your journey.

Station sign with flower planter
Furness Line

Rhee Valley Nature and Wildlife

Rhee Valley Line

Nestled between London and Cambridge, sits the Rhee Valley that's simply bursting with nature. Take a self-guided walk-through grassland, meadows and riversides as you follow the Rhee Valley Nature Trail. Learn about wildlife conservation at Shepreth Wildlife Park, and say hello to Sumatran Tigers, Red Pandas, and Meerkats, located next door to Shepreth Station.

Rhee Valley train in the sunshine
Rhee Valley Line

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