South Devon National Landscape
Follaton House, Plymouth Road,
Totnes TQ9 5NE


Tel: 01803 229330


Winter wildlife watch

Winter wildlife watch

Enjoy some wild wildlife watching time this Winter along our well wooded river estuaries.


What an extraordinary time it will be as we get to grips with what 2021 throws at us – missing relatives and friends, more staying at home…but it doesn’t have to be that way. The National Landscape has great wildlife experiences to capture while we follow Covid restrictions and get our daily exercise. About 100 species of bird can be found in the National Landscape at this time of year if you really work at it – the diverse range of habitats become the winter home for many and most can be seen from public rights of way against the backdrop of our unique landscape.


  • Please observe current guidance before venturing out. 
  • When you’re in the protected landscape adhere to government social distancing rules
  • Follow the Countryside Code

If you use the on-line walks resource on our website you can discover for yourself some great wildlife watching places, find incredible creatures in coastal rock pools or see the winter wildlife that that make its home here in South Devon.


Looking skyward all year round may reveal birds of prey such as kestrels, sparrowhawks, peregrines, and buzzards sharing the airspace with ravens, rooks and carrion crows.


One of the best ways to find winter wildlife is to target the habitats play host to a variety of different species.

A winter woodland walk can turn up woodpeckers, nuthatches and treecreepers joining roving flocks of long tailed tits, over wintering chiffchaffs and blackcaps and all our familiar garden birds. Looking closely to find those birds making high pitched calls will reveal either goldcrests or firecrests. The wonderful woodland walks that follow rivers or estuaries are great choices. Why not try the Avon Valley, both banks of the river Dart or less well known routes around the Erme.


One of the most elusive of South Devon’s wild residents is the otter. Otters live along several of the National Landscapes rivers, but you’ll need to be very lucky and very quiet to see one. You might be lucky enough to catch sight of one at Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve.


A trip to a coastal headland and spending some time sea watching will give you a great chance to see common dolphins, harbour porpoises and seals.  Recently some people have seen huge Blue fin tuna and whale sightings. Our spectacular headlands are great places for looking for seabirds. Divers and grebes spend the winter months feeding in and amongst the localised seagrass meadows. One of the biggest surprises over the festive season has been an albino great northern diver feeding on crabs close to shore off Salcombe Harbour.


Do get in touch and tell what you have discovered on your wintery lockdown walks.