With Devon’s diverse landscape, two national parks, an abundance of AONBs and the expansive coastline, there is no surprise that it is a great place to go for nature lovers. Devon is home to not only a whole host of Britain’s favourite wild animals, but also houses interesting flora and fauna.


Here are our favourite places in Devon to spot wildlife.



The Tarka Trail

Aside from being a beautiful place to spend a few hours, either on foot or by bike, there is lots of wildlife around to spot. For those not in the know, the Tarka Trail is a 180-mile figure of eight trail that follows the route travelled by Tarka the Otter in the novel by Henry Williamson. So, being that a fictional otter has done the route, you would expect to see some animals along the way. The trail takes you through ancient villages, wooded valleys, river banks and moorland and also part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Along the way, you’ll find wading birds, butterfly, waterfowl, kingfishers, woodpeckers, otters and glow worms among others. Because the Tarka Trail covers such a large area, there are plenty of places for you to stay and stop a while to rest. Trimstone Manor Country Cottages are a great place for any wildlife lover, the cottages are tucked away in rural North Devon, set within 44 acres of tranquil and picturesque gardens, you’ll be sure to spot a few birds and garden animals during your stay. The Golden Coast Holiday Park is a good shout for families wanting to explore the Tarka Trail, there are attractions that go on all day onsite and an all-weather sports complex for anyone who isn’t worn out by walking or cycling along the trail.



The River Otter

Rather than spotting otters in this stretch of river that goes from Honiton to Budleigh Salterton, there are beavers to be found here. There are several footpaths and public rights of way that follows the trail of the river offering great spots for looking out for these rare creatures. Depending on where along the river you choose to explore, there are some lovely places to stay in Honiton, Budleigh Salterton and Ottery St Mary. If you find yourself in Ottery St Mary during November, be sure to stick around for the famous Tar Barrel Rolling event that takes place on the 5th. This is a traditional west country ceremony and is quite a sight!
For those of you at the Honiton end of the river, The Loft Apartment at the Old Kennels is in the middle of nowhere and yet is central to everywhere giving you the chance to spot some more wildlife from your apartment, but also use it as a base to visit some of the surrounding attractions. If you find yourself at the other end of the river in Budleigh Salterton, Ladram Bay Holiday Park offers the perfect combination for a family seaside holiday park with lots of great facilities right on the doorstep.



Capstone Point, Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe is a popular spot in Devon because of how beautiful the coast is and there are a lot of great accommodations and attractions for families. It isn’t just other holiday makers you’re likely to see when you’re wondering around, there have been porpoise spotted in the harbour! Capstone Point in Ilfracombe is a lovely part of the town for anyone who likes watching the world pass them by and enjoys bird watching. Harbour porpoises are similar to dolphins but are smaller and typically seen in shallow waters. They’re very shy, so you’re more likely to see them from land than if you were out on the water. March through to November is the best time to see them, along with a variety of sea birds and if you can get close enough, small shoaling fish. Twitchen House Holiday Park in neighbouring Woolacombe is a good base for anyone wanting to explore both towns. The park is hidden away and has a footpath down to the sea where you can pick up the South West Coast Path. If you’re also planning to do a bit of bird watching, it’s the perfect place to base yourself. Of course, being in North Devon means you’re not that far from the beautiful beach at Saunton Sands, you could always call into the Beachside Grill there for a spot of dinner.




Heading to the moor is always a good shout if you want to look out for birds, small rodents and insects. Dartmoor is also home to Dartmoor Ponies, these are a native breed and have long been celebrated as an integral attraction to the area. While they are semi-feral and it isn’t recommended to approach them or touch them (it is also illegal for members of the public to feed them) they are lovely to look at and will happily graze around you as you walk or stop for a picnic. Visiting between May and August will guarantee some extra cuteness as the foals are born between these months. Dartmoor isn’t just home to the ponies, so you’re likely to find a whole host of interesting creatures you wouldn’t normally.
Dartmoor covers a large area, so you’re never too far from a place of interest or somewhere nice to stay. The Two Bridges Hotel in Yelverton was described as ‘an oasis in the heart of Dartmoor’ by the Sunday Times, so you can guarantee a luxurious stay in picturesque surroundings. If exploring the moor isn’t enough for you, Unique Devon Tours are based near Dartmoor, multi-award winning these guided tours of the area, or alternatively, Winding River Canoe offer tours of the River Dart, giving you chance to spot waterside creatures.

sea bird

Berry Head

Berry Head nature reserve which can be found in the English Riviera, has some amazing views across Torbay and South Hams. It’s close to Brixham allowing you to taste some of the amazing freshly caught sea food that the area is so famous for. It isn’t just the food that makes Berry Head worth the trip, being a nature reserve, there are lots of species that call the area home, including guillemots, which are a type of sea bird. The largest colony of these live in the cliffs below Berry Head, so while it is a noisy place to be, it is a wonderful sight to see! The best time to visit is between March and July when they’re nesting, but if you miss out, there are still plenty of other interesting creatures for you to spot.
If you’re planning to visit Berry Head, we recommend making your base in Brixham, firstly for the food, secondly, because it puts you in a good place to explore the surrounding area but also because you’ll be spoilt for choice of places to stay. One option is the Driftwood Boutique B&B which is in the heart of Brixham Harbour. Sample some of the food brought into the harbour at eateries across the town, or head to BE Tempted at Beyond Escapes where you can sample some amazing Devon dishes.


Are there any other wildlife spots you like to visit when you’re in Devon? Let us know! You can get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your posts on Instagram if you manage to capture some of Devon’s beautiful wildlife and use #VisitDevon to see what everyone else is up to!