Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve



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Dawlish Warren NNR includes a full range of coastal habitats, from mudflats to sand dunes. The reserve provides shelter and food for up to 12,000 wading birds and also helps to protect the Exe Estuary from wave action, which is particularly important during storm events. Almost 600 different types of flowering plants have been recorded at Dawlish Warren. These include the Warren crocus (indigenous to the Warren) and an array of orchids. The most common plant is the marram grass, most vigorous on seaward slopes, where it is regularly buried by windblown sand. At these sites, new healthy white roots develop in the fresh layer of sand. The growth becomes less vigorous when the sand accumulation diminishes. Ragwort is common on the reserve, providing a food source for the yellow and black striped caterpillars of the cinnabar moth. Birdwatching is popular at the Warren due to the large migratory bird population. Avocets and Brent geese are winter residents. Oystercatchers, widgeon, godwit, redshank, turnstones and terns also live at the Warren.

Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve
Dawlish Warren


About the area

Discover Devon

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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