Selecting Nature's Top 40 wonders

Bringing to life spectacles of natural wonder on our doorstep

Nature's Top 40

Nature's Top 40
Nature’s Top 40 counts down to the UK’s number one wildlife spectacle. Wildlife experts ranked suggestions from the public to compile the UK’s Top 40.

Selecting Nature's Top 40

  • BBC Nature's Top 40 launched its trawl for the best nature spectacles across the British Isles in summer 2007.  
  • We asked the public to send in their suggestions through local and national radio, BBC Breakfast and via the BBC Nature's Calendar TV programme and website.
  • A natural spectacle was defined as an "elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale... something exhibited to view as unusual, notable, or entertaining; especially: an eye-catching or dramatic public display".
  • Sometimes we're so overwhelmed by TV images of exotic animals in far-away locations, that we forget that there's some really beautiful wildlife at the bottom of our gardens.
  • Amongst the many types of spectacles sent in by the public were gatherings of animals, spectacular flower displays, and the behaviour of animals that simply made our viewers gasp in amazement.
  • From these suggestions we compiled a list of your top British nature spectacles. Many were fantastic, surprising, magical or unusual - and all were something special.

Team of experts

  • To this public list we added the suggestions of top wildlife representatives from across the British Isles.
  • The suggestions covered everything from flowers, plants and trees to mammals, insects, reptiles and birds.
  • Finally everything on the list was given a score by our panel of four wildlife experts from Scotland (Gordon Buchanan), from Wales (Iolo Williams), from Northern Ireland (Anthony McGeehan) and from England (Chris Packham). They didn't always agree but the result - a simple process of adding up the scores is a wildlife chart like no other, the 40 UK wildlife spectacles everyone should try to see once in a lifetime.
  • The expert team was asked to score the spectacles - and these scores were then added up to give the top 40.

Stunning sights and sounds

  • We hope that you enjoy watching Britain's most amazing natural sights and sounds during the course of BBC Nature's Top 40. A full list of all the top 40 will appear on this website as we delve into your favourite nature experiences throughout the course of the TV series which starts in late autumn 2008.
  • The spectacles range from stunning seasonal displays of wild flowers and tree colours to the annual deer rut and large scale movements of birds such as wild geese and starling flocks.
  • There are also a few surprises on the top 40 list including less familiar wildlife sights such as Glow Worms and Wood Ants.  But they all have several things in common - the ability to amaze, astound and stimulate our sense of the natural world around us… and open our eyes to nature on our door step. 

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