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Donations enable us to help wildlife thrive. The rare pearl bordered fritillary butterfly has increased in number on our Marsland nature reserve, thanks to your donations. Find out how you can support our work.
Wildlife in Devon
Devon is one of those rare counties in southern England where, if you are interested in wildlife, you are still spoilt for choice.
The high moorland plateau is kin to more northern climes, while the south Devon coastal grasslands often avoid winter frosts and bask in long growing seasons.
It has two very different coastlines, one north facing and battered by the Atlantic, the other more sheltered at the end of the English Channel. This position at the interface of northerly and southerly habitats gives Devon its wide range of species.
If it’s windsculpted hawthorns, blanket bogs, miles of heather and the sound of the skylark you want, then head for the uplands. In the deep valleys carved out of the edges of Dartmoor by its many fast flowing rivers lie the remnants of ancient woodlands, clinging to the valley sides, with breathtaking seasonal displays of bluebells and wild daffodils and the sounds of many different warblers mixed with the splash of water and hum of insects.
To the north, the wet acid soils of north Devon are home to what is perhaps the County’s most significant habitat, the Culm grasslands (known internationally as Rhos pastures). Here the marsh fritillary butterfly still thrives amidst flower rich meadows enclosed by ancient hedgerows.
On lowland heaths to south and east the adder can be found basking on warm days among the heather while on limestone outcrops along the south coast species more associated with chalk downlands can be found. Where land meets sea the north throws up high cliffs while the south has gentler, sandier beaches; both offer opportunities for rockpooling.
Out to sea there is a chance of spotting a giant basking shark or a leaping dolphin and a whole range of seabirds, the latter particularly concentrated in the many estuaries which also act as nursery areas for a wide range of fish species.
In short, wherever you go in Devon, you are never far from spectacular wildlife rich habitats. DWT’s nature reserves are a good place to start...
One of the most iconic Devon species is the otter. This footage below, filmed at Marsland in 2010, really shows why they are held in such high regard!