We asked our wildlife expert, NAOMI Ford to recommend her favourite nature reserves - and these are top of her list of favourites.
I originally intended to select five, but there are so many great nature reserves in the UK that I expanded it to seven. Spring is a great time to see them at their best.
Cuckmere Valley, South Downs National Park
Set in the South Downs National Park, this valley is beautiful in spring.
Flowers are starting to bloom, the woods are turning green, the birds are singing and the sun sparkles on the rivers and sea.
Marsh marigolds brighten up the green ditches, wood anemones and celandine abound in the woods, and wildflowers of all kinds can be found on the walk from Exceat to the sea.
By this time in season, spring migrants have arrived, so the woods are alive with birdsong. Butterflies flutter in the sheltered hollows, while adders slither in the undergrowth.
Noup Head and The Loons, Orkney
These two sites in Orkney are amazingly spectacular. The Loons, run by the RSPB, are the largest wetlands in Orkney, with a proliferation of wading birds, ducks and geese. It’s well worth an early rise to view the displaying lapwings.
At Noup Head, the seabirds are beginning to arrive. As they prepare to breed, they line the sea cliffs in vast numbers, filling the air with a cacophony of sound.
Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire
Off the Pembrokeshire coast in south west Wales, this enchanting island is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It’s famous for its puffins that come to breed every year, but there are also guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and numerous other birds.
In spring, the cliffs are ablaze with wildflowers, while seals and dolphins bask offshore.
The Lizard National Nature Reserve, Cornwall
This picturesque reserve in Cornwall is a fascinating jumble of farmland, marshes and coastline.
Its diversity makes it a magnet for a variety of spring birds and insects, while wildflowers proliferate, including some rare species.
This is a special area with plenty of interest for every visitor.
The Knapp and Papermill Wildlife Trust, Worcestershire
This is a small but beautiful reserve tucked out of the way in the Worcestershire countryside.
In spring, the meadows are covered with flowers. The woods, which at this time of year resound to the to the harmony of birdsong, are spattered with bluebells.
Kingfishers can often seen fishing in the stream, and if you’re vigilant, you might be lucky enough to spot an otter.
Ben Mor Coigach, North West Scotland
This is a wonderful reserve with fantastic scenery and wildlife.
Wildcats, water voles and pine martin all thrive on this magnificent mountainside.
The nearest settlement is the picturesque and surprisingly busy fishing village of Ullapool in Wester Ross. This is one of the most remote parts of the UK, a six-hour drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh. But if you like hill walking, this will definitely be your favourite reserve.
Martin Mere Wetlands and Wildlife Trust, Lancashire
This is another interesting reserve, and not only for it’s birdlife, which includes the spectacular pink-footed geese as shown in our main photo.
There are otters too. And even more intriguing is that this one of the few places in the UK where you might just be lucky enough to see a beaver.
Although their release in Britain has been controversial, I personally hope the initiative is a success, and that beavers and their lodges will once more become a familiar sight in our countryside.