Where to see wildlife

Windmill Farm Nature Reserve

A truly amazing reserve on the Lizard peninsula

The old Windmill which the site is named after, now used as a viewing platform with panoramic views.

The marker on the above map is for the car park – you can drive to the end of the old ruined tarmac road that you turn into from the main road, but please take it slow as you pass through peoples property.

The reserve is one of the best places for finding wildlife I have ever visited. It has a a range of habitats covering wetland, heathland and open grassland. As well as being great for nature it’s also home to the remains of several WW2 pillboxes, Bronze Age barrows and a windmill, that now serves as a sheltered viewing platform with incredible views in every direction, and to cap it all off whilst everywhere else on the Lizard was busy I was the only person on the reserve!

One of the WW2 Pillboxes scattered across the site
Kynance Cove car park from the windmill – it was packed there and empty here.


An adder looking at the camera
Adders (Vipera berus) abound at Windmill farm
Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara) basking on one of the boardwalks
A coiled adder in undergrowth

I have been wanting to see adders for years and despite multiple trips to areas I know adders inhabit I had no luck until visiting Windmill Farm.

You’ll often read how adders are more scared of you than you are of them, which is certainly true, however I was amazed at how nonplussed they were by my presence. Of course I tried to minimise any disturbance to them and they rewarded me by allowing me to stay with them for about 15 minuets before moving on. One thing to note is they are surprisingly well camouflaged, so watch where you stand if you find one! At first I thought it was just the one snake in the image above, but there was actually three adders here, it was just that the others were well hidden.

Silver-studded Blue Butterfly (Plebejus argus)

One thing that really stood out about this site was the sheer amount of wildlife you can see. I have never seen so many dragonflies and damselflies and there were loads of butterflies and other invertebrates as well as evidence of foxes.

There are several paths around the site and one – the nature trail, takes in a full tour of the site which includes quite a few boardwalks which are perfect for spotting wildlife.

One of the many raised boardwalks across the site

As well as fantastic trails that lead around the site there are a couple of hides for watching birds. Unfortunately I was unable to enter them as they have been temporarily closed due to the current pandemic.

A hidden hide!

If this sounds good and is the kind of place you would like to visit, please join your local wildlife trust. They maintain this site and by joining you can directly support places like this.

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