Nature and wildlife days out in East Devon
With the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an abundance of nature reserves and the glorious Jurassic Coast there are loads of opportunities to enjoy nature and meet some of the resident wildlife.
Option 1 - Birdwatching
If you're a lover of birds and want to see how many you can spot while out and about, try these suggestions.
Begin in Budleigh Salterton at the River Otter Estuary, which can be found in the town. With 33 hectares to explore, as well as being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it is a haven for bird and wildlife, in fact, over 120 species of bird have been recorded on the site, including a number of particular conservation interest, including the whimbrel and black-tailed godwit. Oystercatchers, dunlins and other wading birds come to feed here and large flocks of waders and ducks attract peregrine falcons, sparrowhawks and mink. There is a circular walk that takes in the River Otter and nearby Otterton Mill, where you can also get a bite to eat.
Either follow the South West Coast Path to Seaton or hop on public transport or the car to get to Seaton Wetlands, where there are a host of hides and several different landscapes to explore. There are often signs up telling you of any recent sightings across the wetlands, but you can always guarantee to see wildfowl and wading birds, as well as kingfishers and varieties of duck. Black Hole Marsh attracts breeding oyster catchers while other species can be seen from the hides at Colyford Common and Stafford Marshes.
Option 2 - For the walkers
For those of you who love getting out and about in nature and indulging in a walking holiday, take a look at our ideas here. Every September, the town of Sidmouth holds their own walking festival but you are welcome to make up your own walks and trails. For a picturesque circular route, head over to Ladram Bay between Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton where you can access the South West Coast Path and the Jurassic Coast Walk.
From Ladram Bay, you can also make your way on foot to Sidmouth where you can find a series of walks including Peak Hill and Salcombe Hill, which we've marked on the map. After seeing the views from the top of hill, make your way into the town centre for a well-deserved rest and some refreshments! Right on the seafront is Dukes where you can fill up with something hearty after all that walking.
If you're up for some more walking, make your way over to nearby Honiton, which is known as a haven for walkers. Roundball Hill and Woodland is a popular spot for walkers and gives you the chance to enjoy some shaded tree walks as well as incredible views of the East Devon countryside.
Option 3 - Where to find wildflowers
One of the great things to do in East Devon is to visit during the different seasons so you can really appreciate how much the landscape changes with the seasonal wildflowers. Here are some of the best spots for seeing wildflowers across the region.
Start off at Blackberry Camp, a former iron age fort which is blanketed in bluebells in the spring and looks like a completely different place later in the year. Another place to see the wild flowers, especially in spring is at Holyford Woods on the outskirts of Seaton. Managed by Wild East Devon, there are regular walks and trails hosted by local guides to show you the best places to find the flowers. Once you've explored here, make your way towards Sidmouth, stopping off at Knapp Copse. This nature reserve is known for its beautiful plantlife and depending on the season, there are a host of wildflowers to enjoy. While here, you can easily pick up the South West Coast Path or other trails through the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
All these areas are great picnic spots if you want to spend more time among the flowers, otherwise, continue on into Sidmouth where there are an abundance of eateries.
Another great spot to see wildflowers whatever the season is at Venn Ottery, which can be found between Ottery St Mary and Honiton, this spot can be a little muddy underfoot, but is well worth the visit, especially if you are keen to see flowers all year around.