The Manifold Highlights of Devon in Summer
This tour is designed to showcase the best of Devon’s wild places and their charismatic fauna, whilst also providing the opportunity to tailor a range of activities and excursions, all accompanied by experienced local guides.
Beginning in East Devon, a definite highlight will be watching one of the many families of wild Eurasian beaver living along the River Otter, the first population in England for over 400 years.
After two nights of beaver watching and exploring East Devon, head westwards to an historic hotel on the edge of Dartmoor – the base for exploring the rugged national park, as well as Devon’s wildlife rich southern coast. Visit ancient woodlands harbouring rare birds, and upland pastures full of fascinating insect and plant life.
The next day will be spent along the coast of Torbay, where a dedicated natural history boat trip will give hopeful encounters with pods of playful common dolphins and harbour porpoises, curious Atlantic grey seals, and abundant seabirds. A walk on the rocky headland of Berry Head, and National Nature Reserve, will reveal resplendent coastal wildflowers, butterflies, and nesting seabirds.
The final day-and-a-half (or add more days!) is flexible to design a program of additional activities and excursions. Your tour consultant will explain the options available and will make the necessary arrangements prior to your arrival in Devon. Options available might include:
A day to explore the moorlands of Exmoor National Park on the lookout for red deer, fallow deer, and a range of rare woodland birds and butterflies.
A coastal wildlife walk for seals, peregrines, nesting seabirds, cirl buntings, wildflowers, insects and the chance of dolphin and porpoise sightings from the land.
A visit to one of Devon’s rewilding projects.
Dartmoor birding for specialties including pied and spotted flycatchers, or Dartmoor invertebrates (May, June and July) for local butterfly specialties, tiger beetles, and heath potter wasps amongst many others!
Dartmoor walks focussing on the historical features, sites and legends of Dartmoor.
A ‘Flavours of the West Country’ tour to enjoy the regions delicious and varied food and drink offerings.
Or for the more active, perhaps explore the beautiful Dart Estuary by canoe, or experience an exhilarating coasteering adventure.
Arrive in East Devon and settle into your accommodation. After dinner we can enjoy our first evening watching one of the many families of beavers living wild on the River Otter.
Staying at Syon House. Includes No Meals.
A full day to explore East Devon. In the morning we visit a nearby nature reserve, part of the Pebblebed Heathlands, to explore wet and dry heathland, acidic pools, woodland and meadows.
We will look out for the many special birds and insects found here before enjoying a traditional Devon lunch at a local mill. In the afternoon we will take a scenic walk through a local wildlife friendly farm – home to cirl bunting and hare – with stunning views across the Jurassic Coastline. Tonight, we will have a second evening of beaver and other wildlife watching on the River Otter.
Staying at Syon House. Includes Breakfast.
This morning we transfer to our next accommodation, before setting off for a day to explore the best of Dartmoor National Park. We will take a route that showcases both the natural and historical highlights of this wild corner of Devon.
We will stop for a picnic lunch at the wildlife friendly Challacombe farm and a full Devon Cream Tea before visiting the enchanting Wistman’s Wood, an ancient relic of gnarled oak and moss covered boulders.
This evening we will visit Buckfastleigh to see the emergence of greater horseshoe bats.
Staying at Moorland Hotel. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.
Today we will visit the beautiful coastline of Torbay for a cruise into the coastal waters in search of common dolphins, porpoises, grey seals, and other marine life.
After a traditional and sustainable fish and chips lunch in the quaint fishing town of Brixham we will explore the dramatic Berry Head National Nature Reserve. At this time of year, the headland is home to nesting seabirds, rare butterflies and insects, and ablaze with wildflower colour.
In the evening we will explore the nearby Bovey Heathfield Nature Reserve, a refuge for many reptiles, amphibians, rare insects, and birds including the European nightjar which we hope to spot displaying at dusk.
Staying at Moorland Hotel. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.
Today is flexible to arrange a variety of activities and excursions accompanied by your guide.
Staying at Moorland Hotel. Includes Breakfast.
Enjoy a final morning's activity or excursion accompanied by your guide before heading home.
Moorland Hotel Haytor
Well situated within 11 acres of landscaped paddocks and woodlands at the base of the iconic Haytor within Dartmoor National Park, the Moorland Hotel is full of history having had many famous faces pass through its doors including Agatha Christie and Sir Tommy Flowers. The hotel offers 36 modern and comfortable rooms, most with views towards the nearby moorland or woodland. The Conservatory restaurant offers a tasty local menu with views as far as Torbay in the distance.
Private bathrooms, flat screen TV and tea and coffee facilities in the room. A large resturant offering a wide range of local produce and and specialities.
Nearby nature reserves are home to goshawks, pied flycatchers, redstarts, cuckoos, lesser spotted woodpeckers, adders, roe deer, stoats and a plethora of insects. Butterflies include the pearl-bordered, small pearl-bordered, high brown, dark green and silver-washed fritillaries. There are also mire, heath, moor and woodland habitats to explore. Dartmoor Ponies are often to be found grazing around the grounds and ravens, curlews and wheatears breed nearby.
Wildlife, history and nature walks across Dartmoor and south Devon.
Situated on the edge of the quaint village of East Budleigh and within a few minutes of the River Otter and its famous beavers, Syon House is the perfect base for exploring scenic East Devon. Each room is thoughtfully and distinctively decorated and features comfortable Egyptian cotton sheets and amenities including a flat screen TV and tea and coffee facilities. The hotel is located within spacious grounds, often visited by the local badgers, and there are two friendly dogs in attendance. Please note that evening and lunch time meals are not usually available but there are a range of local pubs and restaurants in the area.
Private bathrooms, flat screen TV and tea and coffee facilities in the room. Breakfasts are catered for but lunch and evening meals can be taken at local cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Beavers, otters and badgers are all found close by. Birdlife includes kingfishers, dippers, grey wagtails along the River otter while the nearby heathlands are home to reptiles, Dartford warbler, hobby, nightjar and there are cirl buntings and hares in the nearby farms.
Beaver and otter watching on the River Otter, wildlife walks on the Pebblebed Heathlands, Blackdown Hills, Exe Estuary, Seaton Marshes and fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast.
Are International Flights Included?
No. Please contact us for a quote if required.
May to September
Are you ATOL Registered?
Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.
If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965