Horsey Island

Horsey Island nature reserve. Photo, Martin Batt

Devon Wildlife Trust's latest nature reserve. A must for bird watchers. No access at present to the nature reserve but great views of it and its wildlife are available from a public road/path.

Location

Near Crow Point
Braunton
Barnstaple
Devon
EX33 2NX
A static map of Horsey Island

Know before you go

Size
80 hectares

Entry fee

No - but £2 toll road on approach (not owned by DWT)

Parking information

Parking at far end of the reserve at Crow Point

Walking trails

None at present, but South West Coast Path runs along its boundary. 

Access

No public access to the reserve at present, but excellent views of its interior and birdlife from South West Coast Path which runs along its boundary. 

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open all year

Best time to visit

Excellent at any time but especially spring and autumn migrations

About the reserve

This is our newest nature reserve. Devon Wildlife Trust purchased it in November 2019 with the generous help of local resident and bird watcher, Mr Mark Ansell.

The 80 hectare site was once grazing land protected by an earth bank sea wall. In 2017 (before our ownership) this sea wall was breached allowing sea water in.

Two years on this breach has grown considerably and Horsey Island is now covered by each incoming tide. As a result grassland has been replaced by a dynamic landscape of mudflats, sandbanks and saltmarsh.

Salt tolerant plants such as sea purslane and glasswort (samphire) have taken root, while thousands of wading and other birds rest and feed on the nature reserve.

Recent bird sightings have included ospreys, spoonbills, glossy ibis, cattle egret, great white egret and ruff. Bird counts of 2,000 golden plover and 200+ lapwing have also been recorded.

Horsey Island is now one of the top places in Devon for birdwatching.

Visiting Horsey Island

As our newest nature reserve the visitor facilities at Horsey Island are minimal. We hope to install simple visitor signage soon, but longer term plans for better path access, bird hides, etc remain aspirations at this stage.

The dynamic state of the reserve and especially the vulnerable nature of its boundary sea wall mean there is no direct public access on to the reserve at present. However, excellent viewing points are available from its inland perimeter along the South West Coast Path. 

 

  

 

 

Contact us

Devon Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01392 279244
Horsey Island
Golden plover

Golden plover. Photo, Andy Parkinson