The Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs NNR is one of the largest and most important active coastal landslip systems in western Europe. The Undercliffs has been described as one of the finest wilderness areas in Britain, and is internationally famous for its fossils. The landslips have been colonised by trees such as ash and field maple,and large areas of mixed scrub include the wayfaring tree and spindle. In spring, wild daffodils and bluebells cover the woodland floor. The ponds and springs have their own distinctive plants, such as giant horsetail, sedges and common reed. The clifftop chalk grassland contains rarities such as Nottingham catchfly and early gentian. Hazel dormouse and three species of shrew – common, pygmy and water – have all been recorded, as have peregrine falcons and ravens. The Undercliffs’ sheltered microclimate makes it ideal for reptiles and amphibians, including grass snake, common lizard and great-crested newt. The eroding cliffs provide homes for insects such as the ivy bee and rare cliff tiger beetle. Butterflies include the wood white, chalk hill blue and small blue.
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About the area
With magnificent coastlines, two historic cities and the world-famous Dartmoor National Park, Devon sums up all that is best about the British landscape. For centuries it has been a fashionable and much loved holiday destination – especially south Devon’s glorious English Riviera.
Close to the English Riviera lies Dartmoor, one of the south-west’s most spectacular landscapes. The National Park, which contains Dartmoor, covers 365 square miles and includes many fascinating geological features – isolated granite tors and two summits exceeding 2,000 feet among them.
Not surprisingly, in Dartmoor the walking opportunities are enormous. Cycling in the two National Parks is also extremely popular and there is a good choice of off-road routes taking you to the heart of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Devon’s towns and cities offer stimulating alternatives to the rigours of the countryside.
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