Christmas gift guide…for wildlife lovers

Regular viewers of the BBC’s Frozen Planet series over the past few weeks will not have failed to have been moved by tales of wildlife fighting for survival in the polar regions. It’s just a shame that such a close-up view of wildlife is normally confined to a TV screen. But fret not, you don’t have to travel to the Arctic, Antarctic or a Dutch wildlife reserve to get a bird’s eye view of nature’s glory; you could take a look at some of the cottages we’re going to suggest in this cottage guide.

We feature cottages in nature reserves, near to wildlife oases – even cottages with live camera feeds of resident wild animals. Basically, there’s an array of holiday properties for you or the nature lover in your life. And if you’d like to purchase cottages4you gift vouchers to go towards any of these properties then give us a call on 0845 268 9253. You can get them in denominations of £10, £20 or £50 – but you must order by 19 December to avoid disappointing your loved ones on Christmas day!

The clue’s in the title of Wagtails in Shropshire. This comfortably furnished former granary, with its own terrace and gardens, is a naturalists’ paradise. It stands the grounds of the Conservation Centre for Wolf Watch UK, surrounded by 70 acres of owned woodland overlooking 16 acres of red deer parkland in lush valley and forest, with an abundance of wildlife, including badgers and many species of birds.

The wolves themselves are no strangers to the BBC’s film crew, having featured in Wildlife on One. Guests at the cottage can visit them in their enclosures. It’s a very unique experience that makes for a very special holiday.

Harrier Lodge is an equally attractive proposition – and not just for wildlife lovers. This lovely property is located within a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the UK’s only residential spa and nature reserve offers an abundance of native wildlife. Spot dragonflies, hobbies and sand martins with possible sightings of water voles and otters. In winter over 20,000 water birds of 40 different species visit the lakes including goosander and bittern. As you might imagine, the surrounding area is a delight to explore including a network of lakeside paths and bridleways, including the Thames and Severn Canal.

If you fancy something a little more civilised, the estate offers access to the spa complex with steam room, sauna, outdoor and indoor heated swimming pools and hard tennis court. Boating, canoeing, nature trails, cycle tracks and a children’s play area (with trampolines) can also be enjoyed and if that works up an appetite, there’s even an organic farm shop on site!

Our next property is tailor-made for armchair ornothologists. Set deep in Tarka the Otter country, Riverside at Orford Mill lies alongside the River Torridge in a beautiful wooded valley, nestled below the historic town of Torrington. The Mill appeared in Tarka as a site of refuge for the titular otter and provides a similarly welcoming oasis for holidaymakers. But that’s not why it made it onto this list. As you sit down and put your feet up you switch on the TV and enjoy a live broadcast of your very own bird box. It’s a unique wildlife documentary, just for you!

The properties are set in 3 acres of beautiful gardens with streams, waterfalls and the water wheel, which is still operational. Guests can enjoy an indoor heated swimming pool, with lovely river views, as well as an all-weather tennis court, games room and fenced outdoor children’s play area.

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