The Wildlife of Devon

The county of Devon in the South West of England is a truly beautiful part of the world and has a great deal to offer any visitor. Whether you are looking for an adventurous outdoor experience or a more serene, relaxing stay this county can deliver. The county boasts two separate coastlines and is home to two national parks, the largest of which Dartmoor spans some 300 square miles and is home to the famous Dartmoor ponies. The ponies of Exmoor are little harder to find as their numbers have been significantly reduced over the years, but they are a protected species. The sheer scale of the county ensures great diversity of wildlife and the flora and fauna vary considerably from coastal regions to the inland moors and the downs and woodlands.

bloody-eyed velvet swimming crab

If you enjoy being by the water, then any number of locations can afford an opportunity to see some of the wildlife that calls the beach home. Wembury Beach in the south of the county has a marine conservation area that is home to some species only found in a very few locations country wide. For example, who would have thought that you could find a crab with the curious name ‘bloody-eyed velvet swimming crab’ or a fish by the name of tompot blenny. Whilst there you may also catch a glimpse of the resident or migrant birds such as the curlew or bar-tailed godwits. Slightly further east and Seaton Marshes can offer the delightful sight of similar birdlife with the addition of sandpipers and redshank. Somewhat harder to find are the rarer butterflies and dragonflies such as the black-tailed skimmers and ruddy darters.

Staying in the western areas around Dartmoor one can experience a variety of habitat and wildlife. The spring time offers a feast for the eyes with carpets of bluebell, primrose, wild garlic and wild daffodil abounding. Travel over the imposing granite moorland and you can find yourself in the haven of Lydford Gorge.

Stretching for a mile and a half the gorge is home to the beautiful 90-foot-high white lady waterfall and the whirlpool known as the Devil’s Cauldron!

Ancient oak trees form the imposing woodland and the animal life includes kingfishers, ravens, buzzards and the playful otter. Some of the regions marshlands are being extended and thus continue to offer protected breeding grounds for a plethora of wildlife, be it birds or insects or smaller mammals. Larger animals like the Exmoor and Dartmoor ponies are of course a draw to the area. In addition, you can expect to see deer and many sheep that call these moorlands home. The county of Devon is one of the largest in England and as such covers a fairly diverse area of landscape.

This in turn gives rise to much diversity of wildlife, both flora and fauna, and it is impossible within the scope of this article to include it all. Suffice to say whatever the season a trip to Devon will not disappoint and when you have exhausted yourself traveling the beautiful countryside you can simply find awesome refreshments in the amazing tearooms and iconic pubs of the region. What’s not to love!