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Wild Places Uk – The Uk’s top 40 Nature Sites by Iolo Williams softback, published by Serin, 192 pag

This is a follow up to Iolo’s last book - Wild Places: Wales Top 40 Nature Sites where he covered some of the top plac

es to visit in Wales to see wildlife. So the new book is not 39 sites in Wales and 1 in Scotland as he is so passionate for his home country, the map shows a wide distribution around the United Kingdom and yes, before you ask, there are a few in Wales! As Iolo says in his introduction it is hard to pick 40 sites out of hundreds that could be covered and some you may not agree with as we all have our own favourites.

The book starts in the north with Shetland misses Orkney and has several around Speyside where Iolo guides for the Grant Arms Hotel and where his latest Springwatch programmes come from. The community wood at Anagach is also a favourite of mine and hopefully the people of Grantown appreciate having such a wood for the town. Balranald is one of those reserves where you can have a bucket full of birds depending on the weather as it has amazing sea watching in May when the Long tailed and Pomarine Skuas pass by on a south west wind.

Iolo writes about Mull as a single location not as one place to view. The island is full of so much with seas full of cetaceans and even smaller islands varying from grasslands to seabird colonies not to mention 100s of eagles and amazing geology! Islay does not get that treatment and it is Loch Gruinart that takes the location. Sea bird colonies are well covered with St Kilda, Bass Rock, Farne Islands, Bempton, Rathlin island and his own Skomer and Skokholm. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust manage 3 locations and of course RSPB reserves feature well.

Both the Yorkshire Dales Limestone and Upper Teesdale do it for plants along with the Lizard Peninsula, Ballaurgh Curragh and part of the write ups of many other of these wildlife sites. Most habitats are covered by some location and all are covered by habitat pictures along with a favourite bird or animal species found on it. Each entry includes a survey of what is to be found there, a brief description of the facilities, and directions to reach the site. The many Iolo fans will love to have this book in their collection.

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