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Devon Marine Wildlife & Ashore

Sailing in Devon – What Wildlife might I see

Devon and Cornwall have very similar wildlife and in marine terms the South coast is swept by the same warm Gulf Stream and lashed by similar Atlantic Gales. Wherever your vessel anchors there is the South West Coast path to explore.

Wildlife of Rivers and Creeks

There are big rivers entering the sea on the South Devon Coast and it is possible to sail inland up the Dart and the Tamar for many miles. Mud flats, salt marsh and oak woodland sweeping over the water creates fantastic habitats for birds and even otters. Egrets, Curlews, Oyster catchers and herons all add to the coastal sounds and you can often hear foxes call and owls hoot at night. Seals do sometimes swim up with the tide.

Devon coastal woods - Seasickness cure - hug an oak tree
Seasickness cure – hug an oak tree

Cliffs and Headlands

The Devon artist Simon Drew might sell you a tea towel with a fat puffin sitting on some sea pink, but it would be rare to see a puffin here. Sea pink is common and so are guillimots, razorbills and in rough weather you will see gannets in from the Atlantic and their breeding grounds on the French Sept Isles. There are Britain’s biggest seabirds and famous for plummeted like a knife into the sea after fish.Sailing along the coast in Spring you can often smell the coconut scent of the wild gorse and you can spot orchids along the coast path.

Berry Head and other craggy cliffs house peregrine falcons and other birds of prey.

Gullimots by Will Wagstaff
Gullimots by Will Wagstaff

Cetaceans – Dolphins & Whales

There is a resident pod of bottle nosed dolphins that cruises the South Coast now, and you may be lucky enough to see ocean species like common dolphin or pilot whales offshore. Basking sharks like strong tides so they can swim into the tide, open their mouths and let the food come to them.

Rockpools and Beaches

There is something joyous about stepping ashore onto a beach from a traditional boat. After pulling on ropes and practical tasks, we seem to remember how to be a child again…You can go to the pub of course but sometimes its just great to look for crabs and anenomes in rockpools or explore sea caves.

West Country Sailing. River estuaries, beaches and rockpools.
West Country Sailing. River estuaries, beaches and rockpools.

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