Discover our top 10 birdwatching spots near Lower Hearson Cottages
Welcome to the wonderful world of birdwatching in North Devon, where the diverse landscape provides opportunities for ornithologists of all levels. Whether you're a seasoned birder or new to the hobby, the region surrounding Lower Hearson Cottages offers you the chance to see a wide array of bird species in their natural habitats.
Heddon Valley: Nestled within Exmoor National Park, Heddon Valley boasts stunning views and diverse habitats, making it a hotspot for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for Peregrine Falcons, Kingfishers, and Kittiwakes.
RSPB Chapel Wood: Located just a 30 minute drive from Lower Hearson Cottages, RSPB Chapel Wood is a tranquil woodland teeming with birdlife. Look for Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and songbirds among the ancient trees.
Braunton Burrows: This part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to a variety of bird species, including Skylarks, Stonechats, and Meadow Pipits. Explore the sand dunes and salt marshes for a chance to spot these coastal inhabitants.
Fremington Quay and Pill: Situated along the Tarka Trail, Fremington offers panoramic views of the estuary and opportunities to observe wading birds such as Glossy Ibis, Godwits, and Oystercatchers.
Yeo Valley Community Woodland: A 28 acre nature reserve on the edge of Barnstaple. A chance to spot many woodland species as well as take in some lovely views of the area.
RSPB Isley Marsh, Yelland: At the edge of the Taw Torridge estuary you will find saltmarsh and mudflats, the perfect site for Curlew and Greenshank. If you get your timing right and visit in winter you may also get a sighting of Spoonbills.
Halsdon Nature Reserve: A Devon Wildlife Trust reserve with walks passing through woodland and along the river. Sightings of Willow Warblers, Sand Martins and Kingfishers are all possible.
Crow Point: Located at the southern end of Braunton Burrows, Crow Point offers views of the estuary and opportunities to observe Bittern, Flycatchers and Spoonbills.
Torrington Commons: Explore the wildflower meadows and woodland of Torrington Commons, where you may encounter species such as Bullfinches and Kingfishers.
I realise we are probably slightly biased, but…
- Lower Hearson Cottages: The open farmland and local woodlands mean you can see lots of birds without having to jump in the car or even leave the comfort of your cottage. Our bird feeders, natural hedges and wild areas attract a good range of birds into the gardens. We regularly have Siskins, Nut Hatches, Grey Wagtails, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpeckers, Spotted Flycatchers and Goldcrests as well as the more familiar Blue Tits, Great Tits and Song Thrush. They may not visit the garden but the Buzzards gliding over the valley is a sight you won’t want to miss. Remember it’s not just about the birds you spot, listen carefully and you might just hear something interesting too. The Tawny Owls are easy to pick out at dusk but if you need a bit of help to recognise less obvious calls, we would definitely recommend downloading the Merlin app onto your mobile. I warn you now…it’s addictive.
“There is an abundance of local wildlife including peregrine falcons, ravens and marsh tits.”
Gemma, Lower Hearson guest, Dec ‘23
“Bonus treats=tree creepers on the tree right outside the window and tawny owl calling”
David, Lower Hearson guest, Jan ‘24
Finally, some top birdwatching tips for our guests:
- Remember to pack your binoculars and a field guide (or download an ID app onto your phone before you leave the cottage)
- Use the Merlin app to learn to recognise bird songs and locate hidden species.
- Try out different times of day for your birdwatching trips. Early mornings and late afternoons are often the best times for birdwatching, as many species are most active during these periods.
- Consider a trip during migration seasons for the opportunity to see a different range of birds.
- If you are heading off the beaten track then make sure you pack some waterproofs and sturdy footwear.
We’d love to hear about your North Devon bird spotting successes, let us know on Facebook or Instagram.