Bird watching & nature reserves

Here are just a few...

RSPB Aylesbeare Common

Just a short walk from Alpine Park you will find Aylesbeare Common and the RSPB Nature Reserve.  Aylesbeare Common is a protected area in Devon, England. It is composed largely of heathland and woodland, interspersed with a few streams and ponds. There are several species of birds and insects which live in Aylesbeare Common, including a wider variety of butterfly species than in any other RSPB reserve.  During our daily exercise in lockdown we enjoyed our walks on the common, even becoming amateur twitchers! We saw stonechat, tree pipit and yellowhammers.

RSPB  Aylesbeare Common Tree
Budleigh Salterton

Otter Estuary Nature Reserve

This reserve lies just to the east of Budleigh Salterton and contains the whole of the estuary of the river Otter, together with a small adjacent area of reed bed and grazing marsh.

The estuary has more Saltmarsh vegetation than any other in Devon and, together with the tidal mudflats, provides an important feeding and resting area for over-wintering birds.

Otter Estuary Nature Reserve Tree
Bystock Pools Exmouth near Alpine Park Cottages
Sally Mynard

Bystock Pools

Just a short drive from Alpine Park Cottaes are the Bystock Pools managed by the Devon Wildlife Trust or walk to them from Woodbury Common.

Bystock has great variety. Visit and you'll find yourself stopping to take in beautiful views across a lily-pad filled lake, strolling through heathland on boardwalks, and climbing the gentle slopes of a wildflower meadow. 

Bystock Pools  Tree

Exmouth Local Nature Reserve

Exmouth Local Nature Reserve is a massive area of tidal sand and mud at the southern end of the Exe estuary – in fact, it’s one of the biggest Local Nature Reserves in Devon. It's also a globally important area for winter birds. In the autumn thousands of birds fly from the freezing Arctic to spend the winter months on the estuary, one of Devon’s most impressive natural spectacles. Dark-bellied brent geese make their way to this place every year in September and during the winter months, other wildfowl crowd into the estuary to feed - look out for huge flocks of widgeon and graceful pintail ducks. Walking out over the sandbanks at low water offers you the chance to get away from the town and explore a wilderness in the middle of the estuary.

Guided Bird Watching trips are available with Exmouth based Stuart Line Cruises sails through the winter months November - March. Full commentary from a leading ornithologist. Booking is essential. 

Seaton Marshes

Seaton Marshes

East Devon District Council Local Nature Reserve

Seaton Marshes is a freshwater grazing marsh, with scrapes, ditches and ponds that attract considerable wildlife interest, from wildfowl and wading birds in the winter to dragonflies and butterflies in the summer.

A large area of wetland and marsh, Seaton is a honeypot for birdlife, especially in the autumn and winter months. There is a bird hide on the reserve taking in breathtaking views of the Axe estuary.

Seaton Marshes Tree

RSPB Avocet cruises

A few years ago, you would have been lucky to spot avocets anywhere, but today they're a conservation success story. With their black-and-white plumage, and our slender, curved bills, you can't miss them on the Exe Estuary in winter, especially as they often get together in flocks of up to 500, sweeping the mud in search of tasty morsels!

Every winter, over 40,000 birds, including hundreds of black-tailed godwits, Brent geese and red-breasted mergansers, flock to the Exe Estuary from as far afield as Siberia and Greenland. Also keep an eye out for the grey seals!

Join friendly guides onboard an avocet cruise to experience one of nature's most beautiful spectacles, on one of the world's great wetlands. Full cruises depart from Exmouth or Starcross and last for approximately 3-4 hours. The mini cruises depart from Topsham and last approximately 1.5 hours. Advance booking is essential for all cruises. For more info: