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Home | Recommendations and Tips | The best spots for birdwatching in South Devon

The best spots for birdwatching in South Devon

Birdwatching binoculars and birdwatching book

If you are a keen ornithologist then why not consider a holiday in South Devon? Its leys, nature reserves and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are thriving with wildlife. If you want to know the best places to visit or to base yourself while on holiday here are the hot spots for birdwatching in South Devon.

Birdwatching at Berry Head

The Berry Head Nature Reserve near Brixham is an incredible South Devon beauty spot and is home to a wonderful array of bird species.

While walking across the headland you will spot Cirl Bunting in the bushes. Below on the cliffs there are Guillemot, Fulmar and Kittiwake nests in the Spring. Razorbill and Puffin have been seen passing through. Migrating birds that you might spot at Berry Head include Wheatear, Whinchat and the Lesser Whitethroat.

Park at the Berry Head Nature Reserve car park where you’ll find toilets. Be aware that parking is pay on exit and is controlled by cameras. The Guardhouse Cafe is located in Berry Head Fort and is open daily.

Berry Head is also a lovely place for a coast walk in South Devon.

Stay at one of our cottages in Kingswear and you are just a short drive from Berry Head and a ferry ride from historic Dartmouth.

Birdwatching in South Devon at Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley Nature Reserve is the largest natural fresh water lake in South West England. So, as you can imagine, it is home to plenty of wildlife. 

You will hear and, if you are lucky, see Cetti’s Warbler all year round. The reserve is also home to breeding Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck and Coots.

Slapton Ley is an important staging post for migrating birds like Swallows.

From Slapton Sands beach itself you can see Scoters, Grebes and Divers on the sea in the Winter months.

Park in the Memorial car park in the middle of Slapton Sands beach for good access to the nature reserve viewing platforms, hide and beach. Or park at Torcross or Strete Gate at either end of Start Bay and take a walk along the whole reserve. Here is a map of the reserve for guidance.

There are pubs, cafes and toilet facilities at Torcross. There is a snack van and toilets at Strete Gate.

Slapton Sands is one of our favourite beaches in South Devon.

Here’s where to stay near Slapton Ley.

Birdwatching at Beesands

Beesands is a hidden gem when it comes to bird watching in South Devon. Many people are aware of nearby Slapton which can make it quite busy, especially with the popular beach right beside the Ley.

If you visit Beesands you’ll find the species you can spot are just as enticing. You’ll hear Cetti’s Warblers throughout the year. In the Spring the Reed and Sedge Warblers join them.

Coot are abundant in the Ley and there are also a few Great Crested Grebe. Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall and Shoveler are also present in significant numbers.

There’s a wheelchair accessible hide on the South side of Beesands Ley.

Park in the car park on the seafront and take the footpath along the South side of the Ley to where you will find the hide.

Britannia @ The Beach is a top cafe for seafood right on the front at Beesands and is open from February to December.

Stay at one of our cottages in Stoke Fleming.

Looking for more free things to do? Here’s out guide to budget days out in Dartmouth.

Find out more about our holiday cottages in Devon or get in touch to discuss the type of holiday you would like in South Devon.

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