Wildlife Watching North York Moors

We love to champion the diversity of our region’s natural environment, in its many unique forms and work hard to protect the local wildlife found at our properties and beyond.

Here at Thirley Cotes Farm, we incorporate environmental management into everyday business and our team seek the highest standard of excellence in conservation practice, placing an emphasis on making positive changes wherever possible in respect to energy and waste.

While leaving areas of the estate ‘rough and wild’ to welcome resident wildlife. As well planting trees, shrubs and flowers to provide seasonal food and shelter.

There’s also plenty of places perfect for wildlife watching across the North Yorkshire Moors and Coast. Here are a few of our favourites …

Puffin Perched on Cliff Edge, Wildlife Watching, North Yorkshire

RSPB Bempton Cliffs

The North Yorkshire shoreline is home to the UK’s largest mainland seabird colony and RSPB Bempton Cliffs is the gateway to this incredible spectacle. Each year, around half a million seabirds nest here, including the locally-loved puffin, with their smart black and white plumage, comical walk and bright orange beaks.

The quantity and diversity of these species labels the colony of international importance, however, they are at extreme risk due climate change, fishing and pollution (all thought to be contributing to a vast drop in numbers). It is hoped that RSPB monitoring over the past decade will identify trends and help protect precious seabirds for future generations.

This is a fantastic place for wildlife watching on the North Yorkshire Coast. Simply look down at the array of nests from atop chalk cliffs or take a boat ride from Bridlington and see them dive into the water beside you as they hunt for sand eels to feed to their pufflings.

Plan your trip between March and July when the birds are breeding, as after this, they fly out to sea, where they remain for the rest of the year.

It is also one of the very few sites that gannets can be spotted during breeding season. These large and long-necked birds often travel in small groups and feed by plunging into the depths. Boat trips to spot both puffins and gannets run from May – July.

Barn Owl Gliding by Trees, Thirley Cotes Farm, Wildlife Watching, North Yorkshire
Harwood Dale

There’s nothing more awe-inspiring than watching a silent hunter glide across the darkening sky and, they are prevalent across the North Yorkshire countryside.

August is the best time to spot our resident Barn Owls here at Thirley Cotes Farm, where they can been seen stirring at dusk or after heavy rain.

North York Moors

Roe Deer are the smallest native deer in Europe and are so well camouflaged that often, you will only catch a quick flash of a white rump as their rust-red coat blends into the wilderness.

The forests that flank the Cleveland Hills and neighbouring North York Moors are great places for wildlife watching close to our cottages and the best time to visit is early morning in the autumn and winter.

Grey Seal Perched Above Water, Wildlife Watching, North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire Coast

The shorelines of Whitby and Saltburn are great for sea life spotting and home to fin, sei, pilot, mink and humpback whales, as well as porpoise.

From June until October / November, white-beaked dolphins follow the shoals of North Sea mackerel swimming south from the Arctic and make a spectacular sight.

While at Ravenscar, the colony of around 300 seals will be nourishing their pups throughout June and July and you can spot grey seals in November, though it’s important to admire these beautiful creatures from a safe distance.

As our guests, you have a very important role to play in helping us to support our surroundings and offer more sustainable UK holiday destinations. Please enjoy and respect our grounds, areas of natural beauty and the wildlife that call our cottages (and beyond) home. Thank you.

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