Newquay is famous for its beaches and surfing, but not many people are aware that its rural landscape and coastline are wildlife-rich habitats that serve as homes to a diverse range of animals and plant life. We’ve listed down below five locations where you can experience the rich biodiversity of Newquay.
Newquay Zoo is a 13-acre zoological garden located on the northern coast of Cornwall that is home to over a thousand of the planet’s most endangered and rarest fauna. Managed by the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, the zoo is designed as a sub-tropical lakeside garden with specially designed zones mimicking, among others, the African savannahs and South American rainforests. Some of the most exotic wildlife found here include African lions, Brazilian tapirs, red pandas, ring-tailed lemurs, black wildebeests and zebras. Admission costs £14.55 for adults and £10.90 for children (price includes donation for the zoo’s conservation work).
Take a tour from Newquay Harbour aboard the Atlantic Diver or Atlantic Explorer and explore Cornwall’s northern coastline. Get acquainted with schools of dolphins, gangs of Cornish Grey seals and friendly Harbour porpoises, or just spend time snorkelling, diving or fishing in the deep waters of the Atlantic. You could also just cruise along the coastline and discover Newquay’s beautiful coves and private beaches. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush (with a slight touch of deathwish), there’s also shark cage diving (the one where you’re inside a cage surrounded by sharks). Prices start from £30 upwards.
Located about 6 miles from Newquay, the Cornish Birds of Prey Centre is a bird sanctuary managed by the husband and wife team of Andy and Kelly Grigg. The centre’s rolling hills and valleys serves as home to injured, rehabilitated and transplanted raptors and birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, owls, and eagles. Admission is £8.00 for adults and £6.50 for children.
This is another sanctuary park for distressed animals (illegally imported, injured, unwanted, neglected, etc.). It has an eclectic mix of denizens which ranges from the more mundane domesticated and farm animals to more exotic ones like lemurs and meerkats. Unlike regimented and segregated lifestyle at zoos, the animals here wander around the countryside and interact with visitors, which typically consist of families. Admission for the whole year costs £25 for adults and £16 for children (below 13 years). The yearly fee is a testament to the repeat visits of the park’s visitors.
Start your journey at West Pentire’s car park. Head north, and savour the coastal air before your senses are consumed by the scents of wild flowers permeating the field around the trail. At the height of summer, the landscape will be carpeted in a lovely shade of scarlet as the poppies bloom in unison. The closer you are to winter, the more grey seals will come into view along the sand dunes of Holywell Beach. Buzzards, rabbits and other wildlife will also make the occasional appearance that will elicit a feeling of joy and wonder even the most hardened of city slickers.