Devon - rare mammals and summer wildlife
This short break will introduce us to this beautiful county and give us a chance of seeing some of its splendid mammal-life.
15 – 19 July 2020
Single Room Supplement – £100
Four nights’ accommodation, including evening meals. Local transport as specified in itinerary.
Travel to Chudleigh, Lunches, refreshments and drinks with meals. Gratuities. Travel insurance.
Minimum 4, maximum 12.
Devon in the late summer is an idyllic place to be. From our base in the village of Chudleigh, where we will stay in a beautiful 17th century cottage set in its own landscaped grounds, we will travel out to visit some of the key habitats of the country.
We will visit the heathlands and meadows of East Devon, where cocky Dartford Warblers sing their scratchy song from gorse tops, White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillaries flit along the woodland edges, and Keeled Skimmer and Small Red Damsefly buzz over the pools.
An evening excursion will take us to the River Otter, the home for England’s only wild European Beavers. We will meet up with conservationists studying this newly established population and (hopefully) enjoy sightings of the family of beavers going about their business.
At the mouth of the River Exe, we will look for rare plants including Marsh Helleborine and Yellow Bartsia, while listening out for singing Cirl Bunting, a real South Devon speciality. After dinner, another evening visit will have us watching the emergence of Greater Horseshoe Bats from their roost sites, with their amazing alien calls revealed by the bat detectors.
Next morning we visit a woodland as experts monitor the population of Hazel Dormouse that make use of special nest boxes, before visiting Dartmoor, with its famous ponies and, of course, a Devon cream tea…
Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.
Day 1 We will meet this evening at our hotel in time for an introduction to the holiday and our first dinner together.
Day 2 We travel eastwards, to explore some of the gems of East Devon including heathland where we will listen for the scratchy song of Dartford Warbler and keep our eyes peeled for reptiles including Sand Lizard and Adder. We also hope to see many species of dragonfly and damselfly including the powder blue Keeled Skimmer. After dinner we will be joined by one of Devon Wildlife Trust’s Beaver Project staff who will lead us along the River Otter as the shadows lengthen.
Day 3 This morning we will head down to the coast where the lazy River Exe meets the sea at Dawlish Warren where we will be studying the muddy shores for the flocks of passage waders already making their way south, the hedgerows and scrub for passing warblers and chats, as well as looking for interesting flowers, hopefully including Marsh Helleborine and the showy Yellow Bartsia. After dinner we have an (optional) visit to watch Greater Horseshoe Bats emerge from their roost.
Day 4 We join local experts at a woodland site on the edge of Dartmoor as they check nest boxes to monitor the population of Hazel Dormouse. We should all get to see this charismatic, if slightly sleepy little mammal. The woodland here is also home to interesting plants as well as butterflies such as Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral. Our last afternoon in Devon will be spent on the edges of Dartmoor National Park.
Day 5 One final breakfast, and then it is time to bid farewell to Glen Cottage and to head home, hopefully taking some good memories of the special creatures and beautiful views of this part of Devon.
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.
Our accommodation will be at Glen Cottage B&B, a 17th century thatched cottage, set in six acres of tranquil gardens with a stream, surrounded by woodland. All rooms have private bathrooms.
We shall be taking packed lunches each day. Evening meals will be taken at our hotel, with an emphasis on local food. Requests for special diets can be accommodated.
Our transport for this trip will be by a small 16-seater coach/minibus.
If you would like to extend your stay in Devon, we can book extra nights accommodation at the B&B, and give advice on good places to visit.
Travel to Chudleigh is not included in this holiday. Glen Cottage is on the outskirts of the village of Chudleigh, which lies 20 minutes south of Exeter just off the A38. If travelling by train, we can arrange for a shared taxi from Exeter (cost not included).
The English weather is of course anything but predictable. We should expect warm and sunny conditions, although who knows, the weather could be blazing sunshine one day, and cold and wet on the next! We will adapt our itinerary to the weather. It can be ‘breezy’ or even windy on the coast at times. We will not walk for long in hot or adverse weather conditions. Evenings may feel chillier, especially when we are stood waiting patiently for a sighting of a beaver or bat.
We will be walking for much of the day, each day, albeit at a slow pace and never covering any great distance. In some locations ‘facilities’ are scarce! You therefore need to have a reasonably good level of fitness although none of the walks are strenuous. There are likely to be steps at the hotel.