This link will take you to all East Devon’s Local Nature Reserves:
Seaton Wetlands Local Nature Reserve
Please note that there are no dogs allowed, other than guide dogs.
Seaton Wetlands is made up of four main sites – Seaton Marshes, Black Hole Marsh, Colyford Common and Stafford Marsh. There are five bird hides and nearly 4km of level trails and boardwalks suitable for wheelchair, bike and pushchairs.
Seaton Marshes is a freshwater grazing marsh, with scrapes, ditches, the Borrow Pit Pond and a bird hide.The area attracts considerable wildlife interest, from wildfowl and wading birds in the winter to dragonflies and butterflies in the summer. Otters have been spotted at the Borrow Pit Pond and this area is managed by the Countryside team on behalf of Axe Vale and District Conservation Society.
Black Hole Marsh was created in 2008. This intertidal lagoon attracts breeding oystercatchers and is now well populated with crustaceans and molluscs that support a wide range of wildfowl and waders. Birds to be seen regularly include dunlin, black-tailed godwit and ringed plover. The Tower Hide gives panoramic 360 degree views over the lagoon and estuary. Look out for kingfishers, otters and, in August, the occasional osprey.
Colyford Common is regularly flooded by high tides, so this salt-marsh has very unusual flora and fauna, supporting many locally rare and nationally important species. Little egrets fish in the creeks and lagoons on the estuary and large black and white shelduck can be seen grazing here. Wheatears and pipits flit across the common. The Colyford Common bird hide offers fantastic views across the upper reaches of the estuary and surrounding saltmarsh. There is also a viewing platform further north which gives great views of waders such as curlew in winter.
Stafford Marsh has a wildlife garden and benches where you can enjoy a picnic. The Discovery Hut, where you can find out more about the site, hire pond dipping equipment and grab a coffee is staffed by volunteers from 10am to 4pm Saturday to Monday in term time and throughout the school holidays. There is a hide overlooking the marsh, where kingfishers, water rail and snipe are often seen. Site toilets are situated nearby.
How to get there:
Seaton Wetlands is 6 miles west of Lyme Regis and 8 miles east of Sidmouth, between Colyford and Seaton.
To access Black Hole Marsh, Colyford Common and Stafford Marsh, use the main car park: In the middle of Colyford village on the A3052 follow the brown tourism sign on to the Seaton Road. After half a mile turn left into Seaton Cemetery, continue through to the Seaton Wetlands car park.
For Seaton Marshes continue past Seaton cemetery and take the left turn immediately after Seaton Football Club into Hillymead. Pass Axe Vale Static Caravan Park entrance on your left and park in the spaces opposite the water treatment plant. The nearest postcode is EX12 2DF. This part of the reserve can be easily accessed from Seaton via foot, using the footpath by the Underfleet play park.
Holyford Woods Local Nature Reserve
Holyford Woods is a beautiful woodland, nestled in a picturesque valley near Seaton. In the spring the woodland floor is carpeted in bluebells and the air is filled with the aroma of wild garlic. Oak, ash and hazel abound at Holyford and birds nest in holes in trees, bats roost in handy crevices and tangled roots can provide nest sites for weasels and wood mice. A goyle, or sunken stream runs through the heart of the woodland, feeding the Stafford Brook which runs into the Axe estuary at the nearby Colyford Common.
Holyford Woods LNR is now being managed by East Devon District Council’s Countryside Team in partnership with Axe Vale & District Conservation Society, following the dissolution of the long-standing Holyford Woodland Trust.
How to get there:
Driving along the A3052 from Exeter towards Seaton and Colyford, turn right signed Seaton at the Seaton Heights filling station. Drive a little way and park on the right-hand side of the road. The entrance to the reserve is a short walk back to the main road, along a footpath opposite the Seaton turn-off. Walk down the edge of the field and the entrance of the wood is directly in front of you.
Trinity Hill Local Nature Reserve
Trinity Hill is a large area of lowland heath, lying two miles outside the town of Axminster. The reserve is a fine example of heathland with many interesting and unusual plants and animals.
During the day, moths lie-up in the heathers waiting for nightfall and look out for linnets singing from tall shrubs on the heath in the late summer.
Much of the surrounding area has been taken over by forestry and turned into coniferous plantation, but Trinity Hill remains a beautiful natural oasis in this evergreen desert.
How to get there:
From Axminster take the A35 towards Lyme Regis. Just before Ramond’s Hill turn right along Trinity Hill Road. After one kilometre, the car park for the nature reserve is on your left.