Autumnwatch 2020 filming locations: where in Scotland are Isle of May and Tentsmuir Forest - and other beauty spots being featured in the BBC show

Autumnwatch is yet again visiting some stunning locations – but where in Scotland will the BBC show be based this year?

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 3:33 pm
(Photo: BBC)
(Photo: BBC)

Once again, this year’s Autumnwatch is being broadcast from a range of spectacular locations across the UK.

But Scottish viewers will be likely most invested in the wildlife tales coming out of this year's Scottish base.

Here is everything you need to know about the Scottish locales the team will be visiting this year.

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(Photo: BBC)

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Where is Autumnwatch 2020?

Michaela Strachan and her team will be based at Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, five square miles of forest trails and rich wildlife including red squirrels in the trees, roe deer weaving through the undergrowth, and great flocks of seabirds that come to feed on shellfish.

Strachan will join NatureScot and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) at the Fife site for the two week run.

(Photo: BBC)

Marijke Leith, manager, said: “We are really excited to welcome the hugely popular Autumnwatch to the reserve and we’re sure that the local wildlife won’t disappoint!

“In these unprecedented times, and as the days grow shorter, nature can offer real solace, and we hope that this autumn we can help many more people connect with the amazing wildlife at this special site, especially those who are perhaps not able to get outdoors so easily at the moment.”

Where is Tentsmuir Forest?

Tentsmuir Forest is in north east Fife, and was originally sand dunes and moorland before acquisition by the Forestry Commission in the 1920s.

Consisting mainly of Scots pine and Corsican pine, the forest is also notable for the many concrete blocks dotted along the shoreline.

These blocks – known as “Dragon’s Teeth” – acted as coastal defences against landing craft during World War II.

Where is the Isle of May?

Autumnwatch will also have a live camera set-up on NatureScot’s Isle of May National Nature Reserve (NNR) in the Firth of Forth will focus on the grey seals out for pupping.

The Isle of May is located in the north of the outer Firth of Forth, approximately five miles off the coast of mainland Scotland.

It measures roughly 0.9 miles and 0.3 miles wide, and is owned and managed by NatureScot as a national nature reserve.

There are no permanent residents, but around 11,000 people visit the island each year, taking the ferry (the only way to get there, a journey that takes 45 minutes) from Anstruther in Fife.

What happens during pupping season?

The Isle of May is one of the most significant grey seal pup nurseries in the UK; as such, the island is closed to visitors from 1 October until Easter to prevent disturbance to the large number of pups.

David Steel, who manages NatureScot’s Isle of May NNR, said: “The grey seal pupping season is one of the great autumn spectacles along our shores and each year the Isle of May is transformed as the youngsters take over.”

Both harbour seals and grey seals can be seen on the island all year round, but as the second largest east coast breeding colony of grey seals in Scotland, around 3,000 pups are born there each year.

Where else is Autumnwatch broadcasting from?

Outside of Scotland, Iolo Williams will be based at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Snowdonia in Wales.

The Welsh presenter – who has presented shows like Rugged Wales and is a regular part of the ‘watch team – will be learning more about the charity based there that is dedicated to researching solutions for environmental change and helping create a sustainable zero-carbon Britain.

Chris Packham will be staying close to his home in the New Forest, and Gillian Burke – who has been a regular presenter on Springwatch since 2017 – will be at RSPB Old Moor in South Yorkshire’s Dearne Valley, a nature reserve teeming with wildlife.

When can I watch it?

Autumnwatch 2020 begins at 8pm on BBC 2 on Tuesday 27 October.

New editions of the show will broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings for two weeks.

Episodes will be available to catch up on through BBC iPlayer shortly after broadcast.