Friday, 30 April 2010

North Devon

A couple of days away allowed us to take in a number of wonderful landscapes: mega sand-dunes, huge beaches, bird breeding cliffs and island life (i.e. Lundy), plus woodland and moorland - what a county!

A north Devon beach

The beach always brings back childhood memories, but also opens up the opportunity to see some cracking wildlife.  The sand dunes at Braunton Burrows, for instance, are part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve and display the dynamic nature of this habitat in a stunning way...and some of the dunes are HUGE!  Somehow its always burning hot when we visit, so the place takes on a slightly arabian desert adventure feel.

Not much is flowering at the moment but the field pansies are a treat...

 Field pansy (taken 2009)

I also spotted the rather curious (and edible when cooked) morrel fungus, which is one of the more noticable spring "toadstools", although this ascomycete is very different from the traditional image of a fungus:

Morrel fungus

On our perambulations along the cliff tops around Baggy Point, the bramble, gorse and bracken form corridors in places either side of the path - these seem to be attractive to  the small copper.  This rather beautiful butterfly is one of the species who's adults emerge now from a pupa, rather than over wintering as an adult, hence their colours are quite brilliant.  Here's a rather blurred picture of one:

small copper

The cliffs also support blotches of pink thrift and white sea campion - only just now coming into flower.

Thrift and sea campion

The vast sandy, beaches are very popular thorugh out the summer months and the big rollers bring in surfers by the dozen.  However at this time of the year during the week, not so many visitors are around, and hence it is possible to see some wildlife such as waders that would otherwise probably be disturbed.



The grassland fringe around the coast can be very rich in wild flowers.   This little lot below was on a carpark verge!  Primroses and violets jossle with early-purple orchids.

Wall flowers

Inland Devon takes on  a very different character, though no less special.  Soft rolling fields separated by rich hedgerows, give way to the rugged Exmoor in the north and Dartmoor in the south. This view is looking south towards Exmoor:

Looking out towards Exmoor

To be honest it rains quite a lot in Devon.  Our trip to Lundy did enable us to see razorbills, guillemots, manx shearwaters, kittwakes and other gulls, loads of wonderful wheatears, a black rabbit, my first swift of the year, a peregrin and a single dolphin.  However the island wore a thick cloud hat and therefore as we walked around, the only way that we knew that the sea was there was the noise of the crashing waves!  Oh well - can't have it all.


  1. Beautiful pictures. The sky in the first one is gorgeous. Carla

  2. Thanks - it was a great day - the beach is a massive expanse of flatness, much appreciated by the folks who know it.

  3. Grear blog , makes me glad to live in England.

  4. Gerry - high praise indeed! Many thanks.

  5. Found you in Shirls Garden blog, your interests are very similar to mine,I'll be visiting your posts from now on.


Have your say...