Wildlife and nature to look out for in Cornwall this Autumn

November 04th, 2014

Including the area surrounding our luxury holiday cottages, Cornwall is known for its stunning, serene countryside, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife and nature delights. This is especially so in the autumn, when the change in the landscape brought about by the season brings out new wildlife to spot. The Cornish Wildlife Trust has provided information on the wildlife highlights that you may spot this autumn, so keep an eye out for these while exploring Cornwall on an autumn day’s walk:


A common product of the autumn, when the trees shed their foliage, hazelnuts can often be found in the Cornish woodland in shrubs and along river banks. They are also an indicator of wildlife living nearby, as many animals have adapted to crack them open to survive in the winter, such as dormice and bird species. They also make an ideal autumn snack when roasted, so you may also be tempted to forage any hazelnuts you come across on your walk.

Grey seals

Due to Cornwall’s extensive and varied coastline, grey seals often come to breed here, preferring sea caves and cliff-backed beaches. The seals can be spotted on the North coast from Cape Cornwall to Boscastle, and along the South coast at The Lizard and the Fal estuary. Autumn is the ideal time to see the grey seals as October is often when the pups are born, giving you a rare chance to see these wonderful creatures together with their newborns. Following dolphins and whales, they are the largest predators in Britain, weighing in at around 200kg, with Cornwall being home to the largest grey seal colonies in the UK.


Mushrooms are often an underappreciated aspect of the natural landscape, but if you look closely, you can learn to appreciate the diversity that they add to the surrounding nature. Toadstools are especially common in the woodland in autumn, and can measure up to 25cm across. Some toadstools grow tiny hair-like roots which can attach themselves to tree roots, allowing them to extract nutrients and feed off the tree.


With a number of bird species migrating over Cornwall in the autumn, including those who are typically found in continental Europe, Cornwall is an ideal spot for birdwatching. A rare and unusual example of a bird species found over Cornwall in the autumn is the Wryneck, a woodpecker-like bird which is now largely extinct in Britain due to the decline in the number of their traditional orchard habitats. Named after the way that they appear to twist their neck to point their head in the opposite direction to their body (though this is actually an optical illusion), they are notoriously difficult to spot, with their grey and brown plumage enabling them to blend in with the tree branches.

Image: Giuseppe Milo under Creative Commons.