This tour goes in search of wonderful and diverse wildlife amidst the stunning coastal scenery of North Devon. Based for four nights in a superb seaside hotel, we’ll visit a variety of nature reserves and breathtaking landscapes, hoping to find their varied and fascinating flora and fauna. Marshes and dunes, which hide an abundance of orchids (such as Marsh Helleborine and Bee Orchid), are hunted over by Peregrine and Barn Owl, while rare High Brown Fritillaries flit amongst the ancient trees of Exmoor alongside Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. The island of Lundy, with its sheer rocky cliffs, supports breeding seabirds in their thousands – Puffins, Guillemots and Manx Shearwaters amongst them – and the surrounding waters contain dolphins, porpoises, Basking Sharks and Grey Seals. We’ll also seek out hidden creatures in rockpools, such as Cushion Starfish, Snakelocks Anemone and Velvet Swimming Crab.
+32 71 84 54 80
Présente le mardi et vendredi toute la journée
22nd Jun 2020 - 26th Jun 2020 - 1038€
21st Jun 2021 - 25th Jun 2021 - 1154€
Please note that the itinerary below offers our planned programme of excursions. However, adverse weather & other local considerations can necessitate some re-ordering of the programme during the course of the tour, though this will always be done to maximise best use of the time and weather conditions available.
Meet at Woolacombe Bay Hotel
We will meet in mid-afternoon at the delightful Woolacombe Bay Hotel, a four star hotel with a pool and spa, overlooking the beach and adjacent to the Woolacombe Warren dune system. During our 4-night stay here, we will ensure there is plenty of time to make the most of the excellent facilities. For those travelling to North Devon by rail, we would recommend alighting at Tiverton Parkway, which is on the main line between Paddington and Exeter. Your tour leader will be happy to pick you up from the station and transport you to the hotel.
After an early dinner, we’ll enjoy an introductory evening walk in the Woolacombe Warren and on to the nearby downs. The well-maintained coast paths leads directly from the hotel, and takes us straight into superb wildlife habitat. Some of the plants we’ll hope to find on this first excursion include Pyramidal Orchid, Wild Strawberry, Burnet Rose and Broomrape, alongside insects such as Common Blue butterfly, Six-spot Burnet moth and Bloody-nosed Beetle. We’ll also be on the lookout for birds, with Stonechat, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel and Skylark all likely, while with luck we may encounter an Adder or Slow-worm.
Braunton Marshes & Lee Bay
After breakfast and (weather permitting) having inspected the results of our overnight moth trap, we’ll visit the Braunton Countryside Centre to take in its informative displays on dunes and marshes. Afterwards, we’ll be joined by local experts for a morning walk around Braunton Burrows, a remarkable natural sand dune system that supports a large number of rare and unusual plants and animals. Amongst these, we’ll be looking for Water Germander, Bee Orchid, Marsh Helleborine, Early Marsh Orchid, Sea Stock, Round-headed Club Rush, Sea Rocket, Sand Pansy, Viper’s Bugloss, Sand Toadflax, White Horehound and Sea Holly. Butterflies including Dark Green Fritillary, Common Blue and Marbled White are possible, as are birds such as Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Common Tern and Little Owl. Braunton Burrows is an excellent site for reptiles, and supports populations Adder, Grass Snake, and both Common and rare Sand Lizards.
In the afternoon, we’ll make the most of a low spring tide by going rockpooling at nearby Lee Bay, accompanied by experts from the Coastwise group. Creatures of the tidal zone that we’ll be searching for include Montagu’s, Risso’s and Velvet Swimming Crabs, Squat Lobster, Strawberry and Snakelocks Anemones, and Cushion Starfish, while Fulmar and Rock Pipit breed on the rocky cliffs above.
After an excellent dinner at the hotel, we’ll make a return visit to Braunton Marshes, to look for a variety of crepuscular and nocturnal creatures. Barn Owl, Common and Soprano Pipistrelles, and Daubenton’s and Greater Horseshoe Bat are all possible here.
Today, we will venture into the ancient wooded valleys of Exmoor. After breakfast, we’ll make the three-quartersof-an-hour journey to the Heddon Valley, where our primary target will be the rare High Brown Fritillary butterfly. We’ll follow a path that runs through the valley down towards the sea, and then along the clifftop towards Woody Bay. The first section through the woodland will give us a chance of Redstart, Stonechat, Kingfisher, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler and Whitethroat, while the cliffs host breeding Peregrine, Raven, and many seabirds including Fulmar, Kittiwake, Shag and Guillemot.
We’ll have a light lunch at the National Trust Hunter’s Inn, before a gentle walk up the East Lyn valley to some charming tea rooms. Along the way, we’ll hope for a similar range of birds as seen during the morning, as well as plants such as Irish Spurge, Sessile Oak, Whitebeam and many other western woodland species. We’ll return to the hotel for dinner and the rest of the evening will be at leisure.
Island of Lundy
Weather permitting, we will make a full day visit to the famous island of Lundy. The boat departs at 0900, and the crossing will take approximately two hours. The area around Lundy was the UK’s first Marine Conservation Zone, and from the boat we will be keeping an eye out for a variety of marine species, including Common and Bottlenose Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise, Grey Seal and even Basking Shark.
Lundy itself supports significant and growing seabird colonies. In 2004, a successful drive to eradicate invasive rats was completed, and since then the island’s seabirds have rebounded spectacularly. Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Shag, Fulmar and particularly Manx Shearwater now breed in impressive numbers once again, and other birds include Peregrine, Linnet, Rock Pipit and Wheatear. Soay Sheep and Sika Deer graze the clifftop pastures, while the plant life features Thrift, Sea Campion and the endemic Lundy Cabbage, which is found nowhere else on Earth.
Our arrival back on the mainland probably won’t be until around 2030, after which we’ll journey back to the hotel for a late dinner and bed.
Morte Point & Departure
We’ll enjoy a more relaxed start on our final morning. After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll travel a short distance down the coast to Morte Point, where we’ll be met by a local seal and cetacean expert. He will help us look out for Grey Seals and Harbour Porpoises in the water below, while sharing his superb knowledge of these marine mammals. Other birds here could include Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Whitethroat, Linnet, Dartford and Grasshopper Warblers. After a picnic lunch, we’ll return to the hotel and the tour will sadly come to an end. Martin Batt, the tour leader, will take anyone travelling home by train to Tiverton Parkway Station. If anyone wishes to enjoy an extended stay at the Woolacombe Bay Hotel, either before or after the main tour, we would be delighted to arrange this.