Top 10 Places to Go Wildlife Spotting in South DevonGetting outside and enjoying the fresh air is a fantastic way to experience the natural beauty of South Devon. With its stunning coastline, rich nature reserves, parks and diverse landscapes, South Devon is a superb location for wildlife spotting. From dense woodlands to open moorlands, there's always somewhere new to explore and discover diverse plant life and animals. Here are our top 10 places in South Devon for bird watching, plant spotting, and enjoying the great outdoors. 

Dart Estuary 

Combine activities with wildlife spotting at the Dart Estuary. Canoe, kayak or hop on a river cruise while exploring the estuary's marine life and wealth of wading and migratory birds.  

Venture through the glorious South Hams countryside, along the Dart Estuary and discover villages like Dittisham and Stoke Gabriel offering various footpaths and trails through fields and woodlands. The Dart Estuary, which starts its life as the River Dart on Dartmoor, begins at Totnes and reaches the sea at Dartmouth and offers a way-marked trail along the estuary; The Dart Valley Trail, which can be walked or cycled.  

Seaton Wetlands 

Explore nearly 4km of trails and boardwalks at Seaton Wetlands, a haven for wildlife and bird watchers. This area covers three Local Nature Reserves: Colyford Common, Black Hole Marsh and Seaton Marshes, providing plenty of reedbeds and marshland to discover.  

Explore the wetlands with a trip on Seaton Tramway! Their heritage narrow gauge trams travel from Seaton to Colyton and have a halt at the wetlands which allow you to hop off and explore the area.   

Dartmoor National Park 

Famous for its tors, historical sites, and unique walking routes, Dartmoor National Park is also a fantastic spot for unusual wildlife. Search for the famous Dartmoor Ponies on the open moorland or explore the woods and rivers for interesting plant life.  

The ancient woodlands on Dartmoor are also home to the world’s largest slug, the Ash Black Slug which can exceed 20cms in length!  

Berry Head National Nature Reserve 

Located in the picturesque fishing port of Brixham, Berry Head National Nature Reserve sits on a cliff top with restored Napoleonic War fortifications.  

It’s home to rare wildlife, including a colony of horseshoe bats, and, with its views of the English Riviera coastline, it’s a popular place for spotting basking sharks, seals and dolphins. 

Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve 

Just a short drive from Dartmouth, Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve boasts woodland, marshes, and the largest freshwater lake in the South West.  

This 490-acre reserve is a thriving habitat for various birds, making it a hotspot for bird watchers. 

Holyford Woods Local Nature Reserve 

Nestled in a charming valley in Seaton, Holyford Woods Local Nature Reserve is a beautiful woodland area teeming with wildlife such as bats, wood mice and weasels. 

Exe Estuary 

The Exe Estuary is a critical habitat for thousands of birds. Two RSPB nature reserves, Exminster Marshes and Bowling Green Marsh, are ideal for bird watching. Dawlish Warren Nature and Wildlife Reserve on the estuary's west side is another excellent spot.  

For a unique experience, take a guided bird-watching cruise with Stuart Line Cruises during the autumn and winter months. Or, if you fancy being a bit active, cycle the Exe Estuary Trail from Dawlish Warren to Exeter and beyond to Exmouth

RSPB Aylesbeare Common Nature Reserve 

The RSPB Aylesbeare Common Nature Reserve near Sidmouth features low heathland and a fascinating ecosystem.It's home to a variety of birds, butterflies, and dragonflies, with stunning views towards the sea and across the landscape. 

River Teign 

Beginning in Dartmoor National Park and flowing to Teignmouth, the River Teign's banks are home to various animals and plants.  

The Templer Way, running alongside the river from Newton Abbot to Teignmouth, offers a delightful stroll with opportunities to spot birds and insects, and even otters in some parts. 

Otter Estuary Nature Reserve 

Accessible with footpaths and two viewing platforms, the Otter Estuary Nature Reserve in Budleigh Salterton lets visitors get close to saltmarsh flora and numerous species of winter wildfowl and waders. The reserve also features a small freshwater reedbed, pool and grazing marsh. 

South Devon is blessed with thriving natural environments for wildlife. Next time you're looking for an outdoor adventure, grab your camera and binoculars, and explore these beautiful nature reserves.  

Share your wildlife photos and videos with us on Instagram by tagging @visitsouthdevon or using the hashtag #VisitSouthDevon. We love seeing your images and sharing them with our followers too! 


River Dart & Estuary
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Bayard's cove

One of the country's prime destinations for 'Green Tourism', the Dart Estuary aims to give visitors the best experience they can have without putting more pressure on the environment.

Dartmoor National Park
National Park
Family looking into the distance

Dartmoor National Park is one of the last great wildernesses in the UK with an inspirational landscape of heatherclad moors and rugged tors.

Exe Estuary
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Exe Estuary - Andy Hay

The Exe Estuary is of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl, supporting 1000s of birds. One of the best opportunities to view the wildlife of the estuary is at the the RSPB's two nature reserves.



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