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Sunset over the Neist Point Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Looking for a one-stop shop on all things Wild Isles? Explore our handy guide, featuring all you need to know about Sir David Attenborough’s new series.

The BBC show premiered on Sunday, March 12th, and will air a total of five episodes. Our guide will provide you with answers to your frequently asked questions and give you an overview of each episode, as well as suggestions for places to stay nearby!

Find out all you need to know about Wild Isles below…

Skip ahead to:

Wild Isles FAQs
About the Show
Episode Breakdown (updated every week!)
Episode One: Our Precious Isles
Episode Two: Woodland
Episode Three: Grasslands
Episode Four: Freshwater
Episode Five: Ocean
BBC’s Wild Isles Quiz

Wild Isles FAQs

Where can I watch Wild Isles?

You can tune into Wild Isles every Sunday evening from 12th March at 7 pm on BBC One.

Is Wild Isles on BBC iPlayer?

It sure is, you can find it on iPlayer after the live programme has aired. Please be aware that the amount of time you may need to wait can be up to four times the length of the episode.

Is this Sir David Attenborough’s last series?

Wild Isles is likely going to be Sir David’s last series on location.

How long is each episode?

Expect each episode to be approximately 60 minutes.

Is there a sixth episode of Wild Isles?

There isn’t a sixth episode, however, there is an extra episode, “Saving our Wild Isles” which is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Find it here.

About Sir David Attenborough’s New Series


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Our wildlife-loving national treasure, Sir David Attenborough, has taken a break from filming off-the-beaten-track locations around the globe and has decided to shine the spotlight on the UK.

He’s teamed up with Silverback Films, the RSPB, WWF and The Open University to shoot the show-stopping mini-series about our very own wild spaces, from Scotland to Northern Ireland. The series will cover four key habitats: marine, freshwater, woodlands, and grasslands.

You might be wondering “Why Britain?“. Well, you’ll be surprised at the sheer amount of glorious outdoor spaces this nation hosts. In fact, the UK houses around 224 National Nature Reserves, with a total area of 94,400 hectares! However, these wild spots are under threat, and that is what Wild Isles aims to highlight.

You may be shocked to hear some of the issues our wild isles face. For example, in the series, Sir David states that the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows.

Sir David, along with his co-producers, has launched an initiative to save our wild isles, hoping to inspire viewers to take action and help save the UK’s habitats and species.

Wild Isles Episode Breakdown

Shortly after each episode of Sir David Attenborough’s new series is broadcast on TV, you can discover the captivating UK locations explored right here. Get ready to uncover the species featured and find places to stay within reach of the enchanting spots mentioned.

Episode One: Our Precious Isles

a puffin on the coast

The first episode of Wild Isles featured a wealth of amazing landscapes, from the northern tips of Scotland right down to the greenery of the Cotswolds. Thrilling chases, night-time escapades, and more await in this episode.

Key Locations

Snow-topped mountains in the cairngorms

  • Muckle Flugga, at the northern end of the Shetland Scottish Islands, starts off the episode. A location boasting a variety of marine and bird life. The island’s name is derived from the Norse term, “large steep-sided island”. We were blown away by its rugged beauty!
  • The snow-topped peaks of the Cairngorms also made an appearance. They’re eye-catching yet frighteningly chilly, as Sir David points out that the temperature can drop to -27 degrees here.
  • Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire also makes an appearance in this episode, with the spotlight being shone on its Oak Tree. It’s the oldest oak tree in the UK at 1,046 years old.
  • Another highlight of this Wild Isles episode was the Farne Islands, where a wealth of bird life thrives on the coast.

Species Highlights

kingfisher perched on a branch

  • At the start of the episode, we were faced with majestic Orca killer whales! After taking in their beauty, we were mesmerised and slightly horrified watching them stalk and drown the adorable grey seals.
  • When it came to sweet moments, we loved watching the foxes play with their young on the recently-mown Gloucestershire wild meadows. However, this turned dark quickly when they began hunting mice!
  • Another dramatic moment happened in the Hebrides when the Barnacle Geese were the victim of a high-speed chase by golden eagles, an incredible animal in Scotland. It was majestic yet terrifying watching the birds try to out-fly each other.
  • The vibrant kingfishers were astounding to watch during this episode, as they soared along chalk rivers at 30 mph.
  • The charming puffins appeared towards the end of the episode, accompanied by wonderful, close-up footage of the birds wandering around and looking after their young. We also witnessed a greedy herring gull snatch the puffin’s prey off of them; very cheeky!

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Episode Two: Woodland

Red squirrel looking at the camera

The second episode of Wild Isles showcased the amazing forests we have right here in the UK, from the northern pines to the rainforests dotted along the western coastline. We saw a range of spectacular habitats; Sir David outlined just how rare these sites are becoming as the UK is now the least-forested country in Europe.

Key Locations

oak swing in the forest of dean

  • The Forest of Dean appeared towards the beginning of the episode and we got to appreciate a beautiful time lapse of the spring flowers appearing through the snow. A sweet robin was also caught on film here, trying to get to the earth worms through the frozen ground.
  • We were also taken to the pretty Knepp Estate in Sussex, home to the UK’s only wood pasture. Be sure to explore it for yourself by checking out the rewilding project or going on a safari.
  • The rainforest conditions of Dartmoor National Park‘s ancient forests were a wonderful sight this episode. They’re home to the ash black slug; did you know this species is exclusive to Dartmoor? If you want to experience these insects and more up close, we recommend visiting the park’s Wistman’s Wood.
  • Toward’s the end of the episode, we got to see panoramic shots of a Bodmin Moor tree plantation. Despite the plantation’s small size, millions of birds roost here each year!

Species Highlights

starling murmuration at dusk

  • Along with the robins in the Forest of Dean, we also got to witness a wild boar roaming through the blanket of snow on the forest floor. Did you know that wild boars were near extinction in the 17th century? Luckily, their numbers are on the rise now.
  • The eye-catching purple emperor butterfly was a welcome sight this episode. We saw a male butterfly fight intruders off its territory, including birds, and two male butterflies at the same time!
  • The red squirrels stole the show this episode – one of the rarest animals in the UK. We saw a male squirrel leap and soar through the trees to a fitting spy tune. Is this nature’s answer to James Bond?
  • Towards the end of Wild Isles episode two, we were amazed by the starling murmuration in Bodmin Moor. The footage of the flocks flying through the sky as they escaped the clutches of a peregrine were a sight to behold.

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Episode Three: Grasslands

wild horse herd

Grasslands currently cover 40% of the globe’s land, and just 1% of these are species-rich! During the third episode of Wild Isles, Sir David explores the 1%, and this included amazing shots, such as the colourful machair grasslands in the north and southern meadows at night.

Key Locations

killarney national park co kerry

  • The beginning of the episode took place in Suffolk, where we saw the boxing hares. The Suffolk grasslands are not only home to the rambunctious hares but are home to a wealth of species, including 20 types of butterfly!
  • We were transported to Cambridgeshire, where several stunning grassland shots filled our small screens. There are some amazing nature reserves you can wander through here, including Fulbourne Fen, an ancient space, and the Beechwoods.
  • Dorset made an appearance in this Wild Isles episode. Some highlights of the location include the giant rabbit warren, mason bees making homes on the outskirts of Dorchester, and the Cerne Abbas Giant.
  • As we neared the end of episode three, we were wowed by the unspoilt beauty of Killarney National Park in County Kerry. The landscape here is slowly being returned to a wilderness state. We loved watching the dramatic red deer stag battle take place here.

Species Highlights

two male black grouses

  • We met a group of hares at the start of this Wild Isles episode. One of the fastest mammals in Britain, hares can run at speeds of 45 mph and we certainly witnessed this as they boxed and chased each other!
  • The scenes of the wild horses were spectacular in this episode. We saw a herd of gorgeous horses roam the lands, a newborn foal, and a stallion fight.
  • Among episode three’s species were Britain’s rarest bird, the black grouse. We heard a male black grouse attract females to his lek with his song, then fight another male in an intense showdown.
  • Two hen harriers soared across the screen towards the end of the episode. This scene showcased the male hen harrier’s sky dance; an incredibly rare sight these days due to the species’ dwindling numbers.

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Episode Four: Freshwater

peregrine falcon in flight

This episode of Wild Isles takes us to the UK’s freshwater spots! A crucial part of supporting all sorts of wildlife, freshwater has been dubbed as the globe’s “lifeblood”. We saw freshwater in its many forms in episode four, from caves to wetlands.

Key Locations

reed bed, rspb fowlmere

  • Right at the start of the episode we saw a tranquil reed bed in Somerset. Here, we witnessed colourful dragonflies taking flight at dawn!
  • The North Yorkshire Moors made a fleeting appearance this episode. This part of the UK houses a wealth of caves which bats have made their home.
  • Cardiff was also used as a location for this Wild Isles episode. We saw a pair of great crested grebes dance together in a reed bed, alongside a great crested grebe family take care of their young.
  • A Norfolk estuary appeared at the end of the episode, where thousands of birds migrate and feed before the tide comes in to drive them away.

Species Highlights

a beaver swimming

  • A highlight of episode four must be the charming beavers. Sir David stated that beavers were made extinct in the UK nearly 400 years ago, however, they have been reintroduced in Scotland and are thriving in lochs.
  • The bats were mesmerising in episode four. We watched as they soared through the nighttime skies as they hunted pray in the glistening lakes.
  • A fascinating part of this episode were the toads! Not only did we see a toad wrestling match, but we were shown the threats toads have to face, including cars.
  • Episode four came to a dramatic end as a peregrine falcon hunted birds of prey by the ocean. The male dived through the sky at nearly 200 mph – wow!

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Episode Five: Ocean

a happy seal

The fifth episode of Wild Isles takes us to the UK and Ireland’s oceans. These are some of the richest seas in Europe, and they envelope our 22,000-mile-long coastline. Whilst we saw some amazing aquatic imagery in this episode, Sir David placed a larger emphasis how humans effect our ocean wildlife.

Key Locations

Skomer Island, off Pembrokeshire coast

  • Cornwall, one of the most beautiful locations in the UK for seaside breaks, made an appearance in this episode! We were taken to the stunning Isles of Scilly, which are home to much of the UK’s seagrass.
  • The West Coast of Ireland was shown at the beginning of episode five. The crew captured stormy scenes here, with the waves crashing against the Irish cliffs.
  • Whilst we didn’t get to see the county of Devon itself, we were shown its surrounded seas where Cuttlefish have found their home.
  • At the very end of the episode, Sir David took a trip to Skomer Island, which if just off the Pembrokeshire Coast, to see gannets up close.

Species Highlights

an otter looking at the camera

  • Right at the start of the episode, we were wowed by the 13,000 seals adorning an estuary in Norfolk! Adorable seal pups, rolling seals and fights were just a handful of this species’ highlights.
  • Under the sea, we were shown spiny seahorses – just one of two species inhabiting our waters. Two seahorses courted each other amidst the privacy of the Isle of Scilly’s seagrass.
  • The otters stole the show this episode! The lovable species were shown swimming around in the depths of the sea, playfighting amongst the seaweed and munching on fish. Did you know that otters can hold their breath for up to 90 seconds? We certainly didn’t!
  • One of the last scenes of Wild Isles episode five was the flock of gannets diving through the air, hunting mackerel and herring. After their feed, 350,000 of the seabirds head to Skomer Island. When night fell, Sir David treated us to a first-hand view of the gannet chicks leaving their burrows. They are certainly amongst Wales’ rare animals!

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Have a go at BBC’s Wild Isles Quiz

Test your knowledge of our wild isles and see if you can figure out which golden eagle scene is in the UK!

@BBC iPlayerIt’s not far, it’s home♬ Promoted Music – BBC iPlayer

Ready to Explore

Ready to take on the UK’s wild isles yourself? Explore the series’ amazing locations from your very own UK holiday cottage. Alternatively, uncover even more special UK species by exploring our guide to rare and unusual animals.

Image Credits: Bragi ThorCC BY-ND 2.0; William WarbyCC BY 2.0; Kev ChapmanCC BY 2.0; hedera.balticaCC BY-SA 2.0; Algy O’ConnellCC BY-ND 2.0; Tanya HartCC BY-SA 2.0; Greg ShineCC BY 2.0; Bernd ThallerCC BY 2.0; caroline leggCC BY 2.0; Tom LeeCC BY-ND 2.0; Mrs AirwolfhoundCC BY-ND 2.0; Peter Pearsall/USFWSPublic Domain Mark 1.0; David Joyce CC BY-SA 2.0

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