Whether you’re a regular twitcher or just want something new to do, bird watching is a really rewarding activity and in East Devon, it’s easy to find interesting species to watch. Whatever time of year you visit, you’ll find different birds, so make a note of these locations and see what you can spot on your next visit!

Otter Estuary Nature Reserve

Located on the edge of Budleigh Salterton, the Otter Estuary Nature Reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its saltmarshes and parts of it date back to the Triassic, it also features part of a Marine Conservation Zone, so you can be sure of some interesting bird life throughout. In the winter months, you can easily spot a variety of wading birds, including geese and ducks, while the summer months bring warblers and other similar species.

The reserve links up with the South West Coast Path and features several lovely walks.

To get here from Sidmouth:

By car – Otter Estuary Nature Reserve is under 20 minutes from Sidmouth by car and there is a convenient car park near the entrance to the reserve at Lime Kiln car park near Budleigh Beach.

By bike – Cyclists can use the National Cycle Route 2 from Sidmouth to the Reserve, the whole route will take around 45 minutes.

By public transport – There are some public transport routes to the reserve from Sidmouth. From Stop A at the Triangle in Sidmouth, take the 157 to Exmouth, alighting at Stoneborough Corner, it is then a 12 minute walk to the start of the Reserve.

Bystock Pools

Another nearby site that is great for bird watching and immersing yourself in nature is Bystock Pools which is managed by the Devon Wildlife Trust. There is a huge variety of wildlife to be found here all year round, with everything from warblers, black caps, stonechats and night jars to look out for.

To get here from Sidmouth:

By car – From Sidmouth, it is a 22 minute by car to Bystock Pools going via Peak Hill Road. There is a slightly longer route going via Newton Poppleford.

By bike – Bystock Pools is also accessible via the National Cycle Route 2, however it is a longer route and will take around an hour.

By public transport – There are several options when it comes to getting public transport from Sidmouth to the Pools, all of which will take over an hour. The quickest route from Sidmouth is catching the 157 towards Exmouth from the Triangle. Changing services to the 98 after the Capel Lane stop. Alight at the Withycombe Park Drive stop and then it is a half-hour walk to the Pools.

RSPB Aylsebeare Common

As an RSPB site, you will expect to see a variety of bird species here. Aylesbeare Common is a protected area in Devon and features woodland and heathland, as well as ponds and streams, so there are plenty of options to spot different birds. There are two main nature trails that run through the reserve, the most common sightings are warblers, nightjars, stone chats and various birds of prey, though other species have also been spotted.

To get here from Sidmouth:

Aylesbeare Common is technically in Sidmouth, so it won’t take you long to get there from the town centre.

By car – Aylesbeare Common is under 15 minutes from the town centre by car. There is parking available at the common.

By bike – Aylesbeare Common is on the National Cycle Route 2 and will take around an hour from Sidmouth by bike.

By public transport – There is public transport which will take you near the common, from Sidmouth, catch the 9A from the Triangle towards Exeter City Centre and get off at the Goosemore Farm stop. The common is then a 30 minute walk from this stop.

Seaton Marshes

Seaton Marshes attracts a host of wading birds and other water birds, especially in the winter months. It’s a popular spot for birdwatching, so there are hides throughout the reserve which will give you a better chance of spying some birds. Seaton Marshes is part of the Seaton Wetlands complex and is easy to access from a host of spots around Sidmouth.

To get here from Sidmouth:

By car – Seaton Marshes is a 20 minute drive from Sidmouth town Centre.

By bike – Seaton Marshes is on the National Cycle Route 2 and will take just over an hour from Sidmouth town centre.

By public transport – There are two options for getting public transport to the marshes. The easiest way is from the Triangle stop via the 9A to Seaton. Alight at the Scalwell Lane stop, the marshes are around 10 minutes walk away from here.