Swan on the water at South Efford Marsh

South Efford Marsh. Photo, Kevin McDonagh

South Efford Marsh

One of South Devon's premier bird watching places. A wildlife hide brings you close to the action.


Access to this Devon Wildlife Trust managed nature reserve/site

We recognise access to nature is hugely important to wellbeing, but at this difficult time, we need to have the health of our staff and the community at the forefront of our mind - including neighbours to our nature reserves. Nature reserve car parks are therefore temporarily closed, and we are asking people not to drive/travel to our sites. For those who live locally and may be accessing sites for the purposes of their daily exercise, we ask that everyone observe government restrictions on outdoor access and ensure guidelines on social distancing are always followed.

Please be aware that key staff will be accessing this site for regular livestock and health and safety checks.

Advice and rules on public access may change. Please keep up to date on the status of access to this site and also to benefit from lots of great information about our work, about wildlife and about how you can take action for Devon’s stunning natural environment, by visiting www.devonwildlifetrust.org and by following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Our work for local wildlife continues and remains as important as ever. To find out more about ways in which you can help and enjoy wildlife at home join our FREE e-news and to support our work visit www.devonwildlifetrust.org/support-us


Bridge End, Aveton Gifford

OS Map Reference

A static map of South Efford Marsh

Know before you go

17 hectares

Walking trails

A ten minute walk leads you around the perimeter of the reserve to a wildlife hide with 360 degree views. You can combine a visit to South Efford Marsh with wonderful walks along the River Avon.


An uneven, unsurfaced path leads around the perimeter of the reserve to a wildlife hide. There is no access to the reserve's interior.


No dogs permitted


Bird hides

When to visit

Opening times

All day

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

This nature reserve is one of South Devon's best bird watching sites. South Efford Marsh is a patchwork of saltmarsh and grazing fields which lay next to the beautiful winding course of the River Avon. Life at the reserve is governed by a tidal gate which allows sea water to flow in at high tide. The gate was installed by the Environment Agency in 2011.  

Contact us

c/o Devon Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01392 279244

Location map

Male shoveler flying

Shoveler. Photo, Neil Bygrave

Salt lovers

The reserve is now home to some rare salt-loving plants such as sea purslane, glasswort and sea spurry. It's also an important feeding place for lots of birds including curlew, ducks and little egrets.   

A walk out to the reserve's wildlife hide brings you close to the action, giving great views of birds feeding nearby. Look out too for the tracks, mud slides and droppings (known as spraint) of otters left as they cross the path where you tread.  

Dropping a bombshell

South Efford Marsh has a fascinating history. One night in 1943 a German bomber dropped its bombs on the estuary hitting the sea wall that still stands today around the reserve. This allowed sea water to flood in. This breach remained for the next decade and local people can still remember swimming in the bomb crater.     

Take to the skies with this unique aerial tour of South Efford Marsh nature reserve. Courtesy of BBC.

Take to the skies

Get a bird's-eye view of the reserve in this unique tour of South Efford Marsh. 

Plan your visit to South Efford nature reserve with this guide

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