Although Cornwall is probably better known for its beaches, it’s also a haven for wildlife. From moorland to woodland, and from coastline to countryside, South Cornwall offers an abundance of varied landscapes with plenty of diverse wildlife for you to discover. Read on for more information about South Cornwall’s best wildlife hotspots including wildlife parks, sanctuaries and nature reserves.
Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Paradise Park is a fantastic family day out for those interested in getting up close to wildlife on their holiday to Cornwall. This wildlife sanctuary is home to over 650 birds and animals including red pandas, tropical birds, penguins and otters, so you’ll have plenty to pack into your day out! There’s plenty to get involved in, such as the Penguin Photocall where you can meet some friendly penguins, take some pictures and help feed them. There's also the Eagles of Paradise Display, in which you’ll get to see some fantastic birds up close. The JungleBarn indoor play area is also very popular and even has its own toddler play zone for smaller kids.
Opening times: Open every day except Christmas Day from 10am. Open until 6pm in summer and 4pm in winter.
Prices: Adults from £14.50 and children from £11.25. Children under 3 go free. Discounted tickets available for senior citizens and families.
Address: 16 Trelissick Road Road, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4HB
Contact: 01736 751020; www.paradisepark.org.uk
Looe Island Nature Reserve
Just off the coast of Looe, this stunning nature reserve (which is also known as St George’s Island) is a haven for wildlife. The 22.5 acres of diverse habitats are only accessible by boat and visits to the island must be pre-booked with an official organised trip. Looe Island has an unusually mild climate and so here you may be lucky enough to encounter grey seals, Hebridean sheep, and black-backed gulls, amongst others. The island is also a paradise for walkers with many guided walks available, as well as waymarked trails to explore at your own leisure, and spectacular coastal views out across to the Lizard Peninsula.
More information: www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/looeisland
You may also be interested in our guide to National Trust gardens in Cornwall.
Tamar Otters Wildlife Sanctuary
Awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, the Tamar Otters Wildlife Sanctuary enables visitors to see two different types of otter (British and Asian Short Clawed) up close. There are feeding displays throughout the day, as well as the opportunity to see them playing naturally- the talks that accompany the feeding displays come particularly well recommended! Other animals at the sanctuary include meerkats, birds of prey, fallow deer and wallabies. Families will love the woodland walk, where you can purchase small bags of food to feed the deer and wallabies, whilst keen photographers will love the variety of animals on offer.
Opening times: In 2015, open from 30th March until 31st October, 10.30am- 6.00pm.
Prices: Adults from £8.00, children from £5.00. Discounted tickets available for families and senior citizens.
Address: North Petherwin, Nr. Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 8GW
Contact: 01566 785646; www.tamarotters.co.uk
Porfell Wildlife Park & Sanctuary
Porfell Wildlife Park is Cornwall’s biggest exotic animal sanctuary, providing a safe haven for over 250 neglected, injured or unwanted animals from all around the globe. The park boasts its own stunning Masai village where zebra and ostrich roam, as well as a children’s farm where you can meet and pet animals such as donkeys, llamas, rabbits and goats. Other animals you can find here include reptiles, lemurs, macaque monkeys and capybara so there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained. There’s also a lovely woodland walk with nature trails which is perfect for a sunny afternoon, and tea rooms where you can stop for a local Cornish pasty or a cream tea.
Opening times: From the end of March to the beginning of November, the park is open daily from 10am until 6pm. Outside of these dates, please see the website.
Prices: Adults from £9.50, children from £6.50. Under 3’s go free. Discounted tickets available for families and senior citizens.
Address: Porfell, Trecangate, Lanreath, Liskeard, Cornwall, PL14 4RE. The postcode is not SatNav friendly so please see map for directions if arriving by car: www.porfell.co.uk/find-us
Contact: 01503 220211; www.porfell.co.uk
If animals are what you're after you may be intersted in our guide to animal sanctuaries in Cornwall.
Cabilla and Redrice Woods Nature Reserve
Cabilla and Redrice Woods are one of the most spectacular ancient woodlands in Cornwall, offering a rich and varied habitat for wildlife with mixed woodland, woodland pasture, wetland belts and a river. Nestled in the picturesque Glynn Valley, these woods are also some of the largest in the county. Here, you’ll be able to find dormice, birds, amphibians and blue ground beetles, which are a species only found in Cornwall and Devon; the summer is generally considered the best time to visit for the butterflies and flowers. Follow the waymarked trail around the woodlands for a delightful wildlife walk- see if you can spot the reserve’s archaeological remains along the way.
More information: www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserves/cabilla-redrice-wood
To find out more about other things to do in South Cornwall, make sure you take a look at our guide to some of the best attractions in South Cornwall, or scroll down to see even more guides.