Get spotting spring wildlife

Girl holds a daisy chain next to a boy

There's absolutely loads of beautiful wildflowers to be found at this time of year

Two boys dig in the dirt by a tree

Have fun spotting insects and other wildlife

Girl on a bike in front of pink blossomed trees

Longer evenings and brighter days make this a perfect time for exploring

Springtime is the perfect time of year for spotting woodland plants and searching for frogs and toads.

So get your wellies on, get out onto the National Cycle Network, and use our handy spotter guide to help you find wildlife you can’t see at any other time of year. 

We've chosen these spring-time rides as inspiration but you can also search our online mapping for other routes near you

1.  See a carpet of bluebells

The Chiseldon Timberland Trail route takes you through the popular Coate Water Park a 56-acre reservoir and Wiltshire’s first Local Nature Reserve with wonderful wildflower meadows. You then follow the old Swindon to Marlborough railway line through a glorious oak wood, famous for its bluebells in late spring.

Or check out the our guide to finding bluebells on the National Cycle Network.

2. Picnic in the park

The Festival Way travels between Nailsea and Bristol through Ashton Court, a stunning country park with 850 acres of woodland and grassland. There is a mansion house, mountain bike trails and two enclosed deer parks with red and fallow deer herds. You could also take a small detour to Leigh Woods, where you are likely to spot bluebells.

Or find inspiration with our list of top 10 park rides from across the UK. 

3. Spot wildflowers

The Cuckoo Trail in Polegate, East Sussex, runs through a mixture of broadleaf woodland, open grassland, arable farmland, and pasture with verges often thick with seasonal wildflowers like vetch and willowherb.

Or check out our other recommended routes to nature reserves around the country.

4. Find mini-beasts and pond life

The Consett & Sunderland Railway path travels past the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Washington. The pond explorer station is open for pond dipping sessions on weekends and school holidays from April through to October.

Or explore one of Sustrans' many greenway routes.

5. Feed the ducks

The Aire Valley Towpath between Leeds and Saltaire travels out to the Five Rise Locks at Bingley. In spring you are likely to see ducklings, cygnets and maybe families of goose or moorhen chicks along the way.

We also have a list of great routes that will take you to RSPB nature reserves.

6. Watch butterflies flutter by

On the beautiful Lias Line in Rugby, Warwickshire, you’ll find two rare species of butterfly, the Small Blue and Grizzled Skipper butterfly.

Or explore one of Sustrans' many greenway routes.

7. Search out nest-building birds

The University Way route takes you to Sandy, Bedfordshire, which has a great RSPB nature reserve where you can spot woodpeckers, songbirds setting up breeding territories and be wowed by the show of bluebells on the woodland floor. 

We also have a list of great routes that will take you to RSPB nature reserves.

8. Go rock pooling

The Cycle the North Thanet Coast is a wonderful coastal route which begins on the sea wall opposite Margate station. It winds westwards past spectacular chalk cliffs, sandy beaches, rock pools and bays on the way to Reculver.

Or check out our guide to exploring Cornwall.

9. Go seal spotting

The 10 mile circular Wells and Holkham Circuit ride near Kings Lynn takes you to Holkham National Nature Reserve and the fantastic Holkham Beach - one of the most unspoilt and beautiful stretches of sand in the country. You can take a boat trip to nearby Blakeney Point which is home to a colony of common and grey seal.

Check out our list of top five coastal routes for kids.

Volunteer and become one of our Wildlife Champions.

Check out our best routes for nature lovers.

 

Discover the National Cycle Network

Whether you walk, cycle, run or ride a horse, there's plenty of opportunity for adventure and getting involved!

children cycling

Cycling is a great way to have fun as a family and these rides have lots of things to see and do along the way. 

Find out about the fantastic artwork we have on the National Cycle Network and where you can spot it.

volunteers on the NCN

Check out our volunteer vacancies in your area.

kids out on a bike ride

Your donations will help maintain the National Cycle Network and provide safer routes for everyone to enjoy.