South Devon AONB Follaton House,
Plymouth Road, Totnes TQ9 5NE

 

Tel: 01803 861384

 

A breadth and depth of significant habitats, species and associated natural events

The quality and importance of biodiversity features are reflected in the number and range of designated sites including Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves, Local Nature Reserves, Important Plant Areas and Local Sites.

 

The geographical position occupied by the South Devon AONB combined with the diversity of habitats it supports makes the area important for a range of species at the limits of their natural distribution range.

 

The area’s coast, estuary, countryside, aquatic and marine environment combine to form a uniquely diverse landscape and seascape providing habitat, niches and conditions for a wealth of species.

 

Of national significance, the combination of natural events makes a major experiential contribution to the South Devon AONB.

 

Top 10 natural events in South Devon

Nature’s calendar creates a series of spectacular natural events throughout the year and the South Devon AONB is the venue of a really impressive selection including:

What
When
Where
What
The swirling spectacle of bird migrations and roosts in the AONB including murmurations of up to 20,000 barn swallows and up to 500,000 starlings.
When
End of August to early September (Swallows) November and December (Starlings)
Where
Slapton Ley Reedbeds, best seen from the coastal path or car parks.
What
1400 very noisy breeding Guillemots in the largest and most important colony on the Channel Coast.
When
March to July.
Where
Cliffs below Berry Head.
What
Thousands of waders feeding over estuarine mudflats as the tide goes out... and comes in again.
When
Every day.
Where
Estuaries of the Salcombe-Kingsbridge, Yealm, Dart and Avon.
What
Vast clouds of breeding midges emerging out of the reed fringes and forming 30 ft tall plumes that resemble swirling smoke from a chimney.
When
April / May.
Where
Slapton Ley perimeter reedbeds beside the A379.
What
Grey seals hauled out on rocks in a familiar ‘banana’ shape and giving birth to seal pups.
When
All year but breeding over the winter months.
Where
Pear Tree Point off Start Point and the Mew Stone near the mouth of the Dart.
What
Summer migrations of crabs and lobsters.
When
June - September.
Where
The whole South Devon AONB coastline and its estuaries.
What
The breeding cycles of Polychaetes (ragworms), and Echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins sea cucumbers) all triggered by the Lunar cycle.
When
Spring following a rise in water temperature and around the emergence of a new moon and full moon.
Where
Estuaries, sandy and muddy parts of South Devon AONB’s beaches.
What
Atlantic Salmon migrating and leaping over rocks up the South Devon rivers to their spawning gravels high on Dartmoor.
When
September-November especially after heavy rain.
Where
Bridges over shallow sections of the river Avon.
What
The shimmering of large areas of sea close to the shore as shoals of Mackerel break the surface while chasing sand eels in turn chased by seals and seabirds and the occasional fisherman.
When
Early evening July - August.
Where
Close to shore along the whole South Devon AONB coastline.
What
Basking shark and turtle migrations.
When
April to October, but best spotted on days with a calm sea state.
Where
From high cliff tops along the whole South Devon Coastline.

Are there other natural events you feel are synonymous with the South Devon AONB, or have you seen something really awe inspiring in the natural world while you’ve been out and about in the South Devon AONB? Please tell us about it, we’d love to hear your story and share it with others.

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