Exmouth Local Nature Reserve, Exmouth, Devon

Exmouth Local Nature Reserve is a huge area of tidal sand and mud at the end of the Exe estuary in Devon, just before the river flows into the sea. It’s a globally important wetland that carried designated Ramsar Site status due to the massive flocks of overwintering birds that come here, many flying over 3000 miles from the Arctic tundra in search of a milder climate. It’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area. Among the wildfowl and birdlife you can spot on the reserve are avocet, and large flocks of wigeon, pintail duck and dark-bellied Brent geese. The latter cause quite a stir when they arrive as they have Amber UK conservation status.

Certain areas of Exmouth Local Nature Reserve are dedicated Wildlife Refuges where the birds can rest for the winter and feed undisturbed on the eelgrass beds. These refuges have markers to show that they must be avoided between September and December to help protect the birds, but you can still see them if you have a good pair of binoculars or if the warden has a telescope set up within easy viewing distance.

Even if the birdlife doesn’t interest you, Exmouth Local Nature Reserve is still a good place to be. It’s somewhere you can leave behind the hustle and bustle of the seafront and the streets of Exmouth. When the tide is low you can stroll out across the sandbanks into the remoteness of the estuary; make a point of stopping and staring, feel the sea breeze in your hair, the sun on your face, and just love being out there with the elements, connecting with nature. It’s so good for the soul. 

All information correct at the time of writing

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