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, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and England’s first natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast?  There are also twelve estuaries punctuating over 400 km of coastline and 210 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

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.

Exeter Quay

Exeter’s Quayside situated next to the River Exe and the Exeter Ship Canal is a popular destination for locals and

Beer Head 10 Gun Battery

The beginning of the 19th century was a tense time in Britain, with a fear of invasion caused by political
Photo of Seaton Wetlands

Seaton Wetlands

Explore Seaton Wetlands and enjoy beautiful marshland and reedbeds alongside the River Axe. There are five bird hides and nearly
Photo of a lapwing

The Taw-Torridge Estuary

This extensive estuary has a typical range of saltmarsh communities, with plants such as glasswort, sea aster and sea rush
Photo across a dune slack to sand dunes in the background

Braunton Burrows

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

Watersmeet, Exmoor

Watersmeet is one of the largest remaining ancient woodlands in the south west. Oak dominates the canopy, but other species
Photo of a comma butterfly on vegetation at Andrews Wood

Andrew’s Wood

Developed on a series of fields once farmed by the villagers of Stanton, Andrew’s Wood now has a mix of
Photo of an orchid at Jetty Marsh, Newton Abbot

Jetty Marsh Reserve

This small site is a mosaic of reedbeds, scrub, grassland, open water and ditches and is part of the River Teign
Photo of gorse flowers

Bovey Heathfield

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

Dunsford Woodland Reserve

Lying on the eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park, this riverside woodland reserve consists primarily of sessile oak on the
Photo looking out over Stover Lake through trees

Stover Country Park Wildlife

Stover Country Park covers 114 acres which consist of six main habitats types:  freshwater, marshland, coniferous plantation, mixed broadleaved woodland,
Photo of lichen on trees and rocks at Black-a-Tor Copse, Okehampton

The Granite Way

The Granite Way is an 11-mile cycle and walkway running between Okehampton and Lydford, mostly following the course of the
Photo of trails at Haldon Forest Park

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
Photo across the river Tamar ro fields and woodland

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
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 Holcombe Rogus,
Photo of Clum grassland meadow at Dunsdon


This reserve is an excellent example of a marshy, heathy type of vegetation known locally as Culm Grassland. There are
Photo of a trail through woodland at Yarner Woods

East Dartmoor woods and heaths

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

Trinity Hill

Trinity Hill is an area of lowland heathland that is rich in wildlife. Heathers that form a wash of colour
Photo of a heath spotted orchid

Pebblebed Heaths

The magnificent East Devon Pebblebed Heaths complex is the largest block of lowland heath in Devon. The site’s large area
Photo of geese on a lake in marshes

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.
Photo of a curlew in grassland

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
Photo of bluebells

Warleigh Point

Warleigh Point is a fine example of coastal oak woodland. A variety of management regimes have created a diverse woodland
Photo of Whitelady waterfall at Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge is 1.5 miles long and includes the spectacular 90 ft high White Lady waterfall and the exciting Devil’s
Photo of an old stone bridge, Plym Bridge

Plym Bridge Woods

Springtime in this wooded valley of the River Plym sees the woodland floor carpeted by wild flowers including wood anemone,
Photo of moorland at Knowstone Moor

Rackenford and Knowstone Moors

This wonderful, but wild and windswept, site is one of the largest remaining areas of Culm grassland. This rare habitat
Photo of a green woodpecker


Halsdon consists of a mixture of ancient woodland, floodplain meadows and a magnificent length of the River Torridge immortalised by
Photo of white grassland flowers

Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs

This magnificent reserve comprises 304 hectares of coastal landslides and cliffs – one of the largest such areas in Britain.
Photo of the pink flowers of sea lavender

The Otter Estuary

This compact and accessible estuary supports a particularly well-developed saltmarsh flora that includes such characteristic plants as glasswort, sea purslane
Photo of grassy fields down to coastal cliffs and the sea at Berry Head

Berry Head, Brixham

Berry Head offers spectacular views across Torbay.  So it is not surprising that it was chosen as a strategic location
Photo of a bar-tailed godwit wading on mud

Wembury VMCA

The Wembury Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) runs for about four miles from Yealm Head to Fort Bovisand, extending out to
Photo looking down on sea and beach with rocky cliffs behind

North Devon VMCA

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