Wildlife in Devon

Devon is unsurpassed for the beauty and quality of its landscapes. The beaches, shores and estuaries, the traditional farmed landscape with rolling hills, woods and hedgerows, the lowland heaths, the moors and uplands – all combine to make Devon one of the most stunning destinations in Great Britain.

Where else can boast two National Parks, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, twelve estuaries punctuating over 400 km of coastline, 210 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and England’s first natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast?

But Devon’s wealth of natural beauty does not stop there. Look closer and you will find a sheer abundance and variety of wildlife that few areas in Britain can rival. The rich and largely unspoilt landscape supports many different habitats; these in turn provide a home to a fascinating diversity of plants and animals, too many to name here.

Don’t forget, Devon’s environment has something to offer throughout the year, not just in the spring and summer months. Many of the sites are best visited out of season, such as our estuaries which support large numbers of migrating and wintering birds. Our heaths and moorlands take on their own unique beauty during the winter months, and the stunning displays of spring flowers, such as wild daffodils and bluebells, are simply breath-taking.

(C) Natural England - Julian Dowse

The Taw-Torridge Estuary

This extensive estuary has a typical range of saltmarsh communities, with plants such as glasswort, sea aster and sea rush all…

(C) Natural England - Peter Wakely

Braunton Burrows

Lying at the entrance to the Taw-Torridge Estuary, Braunton Burrows is one of the most important sand dune systems in Britain…

Photo by Jonathan Billinger

Watersmeet, Exmoor

Watersmeet is one of the largest remaining ancient woodlands in the south west. Oak dominates the canopy, but other species are…

Photo by Derek Harper

Andrew’s Wood

Developed on a series of fields once farmed by the villagers of Stanton, Andrew’s Wood now has a mix of habitats…

Photo by Derek Harper

Jetty Marsh Reserve

This small site is a mosiac of reedbeds, scrub, grassland, open water and ditches and is part of the River Teign floodplain….

Photo by Paul Dickson

Bovey Heathfield

Bovey Heathfield is a remnant of lowland heathland that was once much more common in the area. It has suffered from…

Photo by Derek Harper

Dunsford Woodland Reserve

Lying on the eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park, this riverside woodland reserve consists primarily of sessile oak on the steep…

Photo by Derek Harper

The Axe Estuary

The Axe Estuary is home to grazing marsh, mud flats, saltmarsh and reedbeds.  It is a haven for wildlife, especially birds.



Stover Country Park Wildlife

Stover Country Park covers 114 acres which consist of six main habitats types:  freshwater, marshland, coniferous plantation, mixed broadleaved woodland, lowland…

Photo by Richard Dorrell

The Granite Way wildlife

The Granite Way is an 11-mile cycle and walkway running between Okehampton and Lydford, mostly following the course of the former…

Photo by Derek Harper

Haldon Forest Park wildlife

Haldon Forest is a structurally diverse conifer plantation covering 3,500 acres. No fewer than five species of birds of prey breed…

Photo by South West Lakes Trust

Upper and Lower Tamar Lakes

Straddling the Devon and Cornwall border, these two man-made lakes offer many opportunities for bird watchers. Flocks of ducks, such as…

Reed Bunting copyright Natural England - Michael Hammett

Grand Western Canal Country Park

Offering wonderful views of the surrounding countryside, the Grand Western Canal runs for 11 miles between Tiverton and Holcome Rogus, near…

Photo by J Chubb/DWT


This reserve is an excellent example of a marshy, heathy type of vegetation known locally as Culm Grassland. There are also…

(C) Derek Harper

East Dartmoor woods and heaths

This National Nature Reserve consists of three adjacent sites – Yarner Woods, Trendlebere Down and the Bovey Valley Woodlands.

The main habitats…

(C) Lairich Rig geograph.org.uk

Trinity Hill

Trinity Hill is an area of lowland heathland that is rich in wildlife. Heathers that form a wash of colour in…

(C) Natural England - Peter Roworth

Pebblebed Heaths

The magnificent East Devon Pebblebed Heaths complex is the largest block of lowland heath in Devon. The site’s large area and…

(C) Derek Harper  - see geograph.org.uk

Bowling Green Marsh (The Exe Estuary)

Bowling Green Marsh makes up part of the Exe Estuary, an area of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl.

Adjacent to…

(C) Natural England

Exminster Marshes (The Exe Estuary)

Part of the Exe Estuary, Exminster Marshes is an area of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl.

The area consists of…

(C) Natural England - Peter Wakely

Warleigh Point

Warleigh Point is a fine example of coastal oak woodland. A variety of management regimes have created a diverse woodland structure,…

(C) Rob Wilcox - geograph.org.uk

Lydford Gorge wildlife

Lydford Gorge is 1.5 miles long and includes the spectacular 90 ft high White Lady waterfall and the exciting Devil’s Cauldron…

(C) Chris Downer - geograph.org.uk

Plym Bridge Woods

Springtime in this wooded valley of the River Plym sees the woodland floor carpeted by wild flowers including wood anemone, wild…

Copyright Martin Bodman - Licenced for Further Use - see geograph.org.uk

Rackenford and Knowstone Moors

This wonderful, but wild and windswept, site is one of the largest remaining areas of Culm grassland. This rare habitat once…

(C) Natural England - Allan Drewitt


Halsdon consists of a mixture of ancient woodland, floodplain meadows and a magnificent length of the River Torridge immortalised by the…

(C) Arnstein Rønning - licenced for reuse - wikimedia commons

Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs

This magnificent reserve comprises 304 hectares of coastal landslides and cliffs – one of the largest such areas in Britain. Where…

(C) Natural England - Peter Wakely

The Otter Estuary

This compact and accessible estuary supports a particularly well-developed saltmarsh flora that includes such characteristic plants as glasswort, sea purslane and…

Copyright Steve Daniels - Licenced for reuse - see geograph.org.uk

Berry Head

The towering cliffs and rocky headland of Berry Head are the wildlife gems of Torbay. The extensive areas of limestone grassland…

(C) Natural England - Allan Drewitt

Wembury VMCA

The Wembury Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) runs for about four miles from Yealm Head to Fort Bovisand, extending out to sea…

(C) Philip Halling - Licenced for reuse - geograph.org.uk

North Devon VMCA

The North Devon Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) runs for about 21 miles along the coast from Hangman Point in the…