On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
12 Drummers drumming
See if you can drum up the courage to take part in a New Years Day Dip at one of the many organised events at beaches around the AONB including, Wembury, Bigbury, Bovisand and Brixham!
11 Pipers piping
The Common Sandpiper is a smallish brown coloured wader with a white belly. They can be seen on the mudflats of the estuaries in the AONB at low tide, hunting for food. They give a distinctive three-note call as they fly off – listen here http://sounds.bl.uk/Environment/British-wildlife-recordings/022M-W1CDR0001405-0400V0#_
10 Lords a-leaping, 9 Ladies dancing
Arum maculatum – Lords and Ladies, cuckoo pint or wild arum – the bright red berries on the old flowering stalk of this plant can be seen in the green lanes and hedgerows around the AONB. (The berries are poisonous).
Challons Combe is a small organic dairy farm in the AONB near to Aveton Gifford. They produce their own milk, cream and yogurt, which is very creamy and extremely tasty!
7 Swans a-swimming
The Avon estuary is a good place to see swans – there are resident birds often seen between the bridge at Aveton Gifford and the mouth of the estuary. If the tide is out, take a trip on the tidal road from Aveton Gifford for a close up view of the water!
6 Geese a-laying
Explore Charleton and Frogmore Creek and you will stumble upon Geese Quarries. The stone hewn from here was used to build the tower at Dartmouth Castle in the 15th century, as well as West Charleton church and many other local buildings.
5 Gold rings
Well – no gold, but we have the Blackdown Rings! This ancient site is one of the highest points in the AONB and as well as being steeped in history, has some of the best views over our protected landscape. Find out more on this downloadable walk http://www.southdevonaonb.org.uk/explore/walks-trails/blackdown-rings
4 Calling birds
Our fantastic hedgerows are laden with berries and provide rich pickings for the hungry birds over winter. Listen out for them singing as you walk round the lanes and fields. If you are lucky you may catch sight of winter visitors for which berries and fruit are a favourite, such as Black Redstarts and Waxwings.
3 French hens
You have heard of Scotch eggs – but how about Devon Eggs? Try this recipe for a Devon egg – yummy runny yolk wrapped up in the best South Devon crab!
2 Turtle doves
Turtles are rarely seen around our cost in the AONB, but some things we do here can have a massive impact on them many miles away! Plastic which ends up in the sea can be extremely harmful to marine life – everything from plastic bags to very tiny microplastic beads you find in facial scrubs, all cause problems. Think carefully about where your rubbish ends up this Christmas and recycle where you can!
... And a Partridge in a pear tree!
Wrap up warm and head out to Peartree Point on the coast just off Start Point. This is one of the top spots in the AONB for seal watching. Grey seals breed during the winter months and you can often see them hauled out on the rocks in a familiar ‘banana’ shape.
Merry Christmas from all of us in the AONB Team!