1. Holywells Park – A gem in the heart of Ipswich which is fantastic for a wide range of wildlife. A favourite with photographers, this park offers spectacular views of kingfishers, little egrets and mandarin ducks. In summer this park is a hive of activity for insects such as dragonflies, butterflies and moths. If you’re really lucky you may even see the rare golden hoverfly on the ivy in the walled garden.
2. Christchurch Park – fantastic for birds including both resident and migratory birds from robins and mandarin ducks, to goosanders and little grebes. The Round Pond is also alive with damselflies and dragonflies in summer and the wildflower areas are brimming with butterflies and the not so common snake’s head fritillary flower, which grows in a natural spring fed flush.
3. Bixley Heath – a lovely site with a mix of habitats including woodland, heathland, ponds and both reed bed and sedge bed. Great for birds, fungi, mammals, reptiles and insects, this small site off Bucklesham Road is a haven for all wildlife and a favourite with wildlife photographers.
4. Piper’s Vale – Part of Orwell Country Park, Piper’s Vale, known locally as “The Lairs” is a 15 hectare area of heathland, woodland, reed bed, acid grassland and wildflower meadows. This site meets the Orwell estuary and offers fantastic views of the Orwell Bridge. You have access to the rest of Orwell Country Park from this site and can walk for hours.
5. Bridge Wood – An area of large mixed woodland, Bridge Wood offers a haven for birds and mammals with the added bonus of running alongside the Orwell estuary and a lovely walk. This area has scenic natural views and connects to Piper’s Vale and the other parts of Orwell Country Park, making this a great place to walk among the trees and watch wildlife.
6. Braziers Meadow and woods – Braziers Meadow – part of the old Ipswich airfield, this site holds the last breeding population of skylarks within the boundary of Ipswich. The meadow is also great for deer, small mammals, reptiles and birds. Bordering the meadow is Braziers Wood, which is awash with bluebells in spring and is a lovely wood with a stream and wet woodland and a large variety of wildlife that comes with these habitats.
7. Landseer Park – Once an old landfill site, this re-established green space consists of rolling hills of long grass and meadows, with ponds, a woodland walk and a fantastic range of wildlife. The grassland nature of this site makes it fantastic for insects and butterflies including the Marbled White Butterfly, found in only a handful of sites in Ipswich. This park also offers a number of orchids which bloom in the spring and summer months.
8. Bourne Park –On the boundary of Ipswich, Bourne Park contains a lovely wildlife area with a large reedbed and riverside walk. This area offers the possibility of seeing kingfishers, water voles and even otters as well as other mammals and a variety of small birds along your walk.
9. The Dales – The Dales offers a charming woodland walk, wildflower meadows and a number of small ponds, great for looking for breeding amphibians in spring. If you are walking around in early morning or at dusk you might be lucky enough to see the resident foxes or bats.
10. Chantry Park – As one of Ipswich’s largest parks, Chantry Park offers a great chance to go for a walk around a large green open space. Alongside the main grassland areas, Chantry has a county wildlife site with long grass and wildflower areas with a large population of reptiles and you might even see fox and deer. Chantry Park also offers an orchard, woodland and large ponds meaning it supports a large variety of wildlife.