Are you looking for a destination where you can see rare wildlife in their natural habitats? Or enjoy all that nature has to offer, both on land and at sea? Then the English Riviera is the place for you.

Dolphins and porpoises and seals, oh my!

Dolphins, porpoises, seals and basking sharks are frequent visitors to the sheltered waters of Tor Bay. Common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises can often be seen from the high cliffs at Berry Head. Take a pair of binoculars and see if you can spot any leaping from the waves below you. For a closer experience, get out on the water with a wildlife cruise. Take a leisurely 1 hour RIB Seafari with Torquay Watersports or join South West RIB rides from Brixham to take in the sights.

Image courtesy of Torquay Watersports.

Seals are found throughout Torbay and are most active late in the year, from October to November during breeding season. During this time, take a walk from the award-winning Fishcombe Cove Café at Battery Gardens, along the seafront to Brixham Harbour and around the marina and you are likely to spot one. Please remember to keep your distance: although they may look cuddly, they are still wild animals with wild instincts and incredibly strong.

Berry Head Nature Reserve

This stunning headland, surrounded by water on three sides is home to the widest variety of wildlife on the English Riviera. Berry Head is a National Nature Reserve and Special Area of Conservation and attracts animals of all kinds – making it a must-visit for nature lovers.

The high cliffs are home to the largest breeding colony of guillemots on the South Coast of England, peaking at 1,400 birds during breeding season. In fact, due to the rarity of this breeding colony, this area is the only Area of Special Protection in the UK. You will hear them before you see them! Head to the Guardhouse Café and just behind the café, there is a bird hide nestled in the cliffs. You will be greeted by the squawks, telling you that you are in the right place.

Berry Head Nature Reserve is also home to a large colony of Greater Horseshoe Bats which are rare in the UK. They reside and roost in the extensive limestone caves at Berry Head which is an internationally important site for this protected species. At dusk, it is not uncommon to spot bats flying around BrixhamBerry Head and Breakwater Beach. Join the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust for a ranger led Bat Walk event which are held throughout the summer.

Cockington Country Park

A spectacular mix of formal gardens, open parkland, rural countryside, mysterious woodlands and three picturesque lakes, Cockington Country Park is a fantastic day out for all the family. Amongst the 450 acres of country park, there is also a historic manor house, craft centre, traditional thatched cottages and an 11th Century church.

A gentle stroll through the woodlands and around the lakes is the perfect tonic to get away from the crowds of nearby Torquay. Along the way, you are likely to spot native wildlife amongst the trees including squirrels, rabbits, and deer. At the lakes, you will see the resident ducks and fish. With clear pathways and some minor slopes, this is a great place to introduce little ones to wildlife.

Wetland Nature Reserve at Clennon Lakes

Clennon Lakes is a nature reserve consisting of manmade lakes. They are the most important wetland site on the English Riviera and home to many species found nowhere else in the Bay. On the lakes, you will find an array of birds including swans, ducks, moorhens, kingfishers, and herons. Just past the third lake, there is a side path which takes you up a steep hill towards Clennon Gorge which is owned and managed by Paignton Zoo as a conservation area.

Experience a real working farm

Experience a real working farm at Occombe Farm. Wander around the farm and gardens and explore our fantastic 2km nature trail, bustling with wildlife and with beautiful views of the surrounding woodland. Say hello to the resident cows, sheep, ducks, chickens grazing in the fields.

Image courtesy of Occombe Farm.

Get closer to exotic animals at Paignton Zoo

For those looking for a more exotic wildlife experience, head to Paignton Zoo. With dozens of different animals across 80 acres of beautiful, spacious grounds you will not be disappointed! Discover all your favourite species, big and small, including gorillas, orang-utans, giraffes, lions, tigers, crocodiles, flamingos, red pandas and rhinos, and be ready for a few surprises along the way too. Escape the crowds and enjoy a walk along their peaceful Nature Trail, where you can spot all kinds of native wildlife.

Image courtesy of Paignton Zoo.

Dartmoor ponies

Just an hour’s drive from the English Riviera is the world-renowned Dartmoor. A wild, exhilarating place, the 386 square miles of Dartmoor is home to many species of animals and plants. With Shetland cows, rare butterflies and shy deer scattered amongst ancient woodlands, mossy boulders and open moorland, there is plenty of activity for wildlife lovers to enjoy.

The most well-known residents are ponies. Although they are commonly called Dartmoor Ponies, there are many different species of ponies that live on Dartmoor. It is believed that wild ponies have roamed Dartmoor for 3,500 years and they play a vital role in maintaining habitats and supporting wildlife. The pedigree Dartmoor Pony is now an endangered rare breed, but dedicated breeders are increasing the numbers of these native equines. Many have not been handled and are still wild animals, so it is advised not to approach them too closely or feed them.

Take a guided Driving Tour to Dartmoor with Devon & Moor, where you will discover the wild beauty of Dartmoor and walk amongst the ponies and highland cattle whilst immersing yourself in mystical landscapes.

Image courtesy of Devon and Moor.

With all of our fabulous wildlife to enjoy, the English Riviera really is a nature lover’s dream location to visit. So, pack your binoculars and venture out into the great outdoors!


Torquay Watersports
Watersports Centre
Raptor RIB Ride in Torbay, English Riviera

Torquay Watersports offers various ways to get out on the water and have some fun. Our award winning vessel Raptor offers a 30 minute high speed trip around the bay and is the ultimate RIB Ride. Want something more leisurely? Then our 1 hour or 90 minute coastal RIB tour will take in all Torbay has to offer at a more relaxed pace. Come and create some memories on the water and look for our resident wildlife - hoping for dolphins, porpoise and seals.

South West Rib Rides
Boat Trip
Enjoying the Rib Ride across the English Riviera Bay with South West Rib Rides

Southwest Rib Rides offer speed boat rides in Torbay, with a range of trips for the whole family. Explore the beautiful Torbay coastline from the comfort and safety of our fantastic rib ‘Go Ballistic’. Take in sights such as Elberry cove, Paignton Pier & Thatcher’s Rock. You may even be lucky enough to see some of the local wildlife, Such as seals & dolphins, that are frequently seen in Brixham and the surrounding area. We also offer a range of rides from a faster paced 30min trip to a more relaxed 1 hour cruise. We also offer private hire and packages for cooperate events, Birthdays & other celebrations. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience then look no further than Southwest

Fishcombe Cove Cafe
Fishcombe Cove Cafe, Brixham, Devon

Alfresco beach hut cafe selling food, delicious cakes, home baked cream tea along with freshly ground coffee. All food is locally sourced and home made where possible.  Dog friendly beach. Under new ownership! ⚓️

Guardhouse Cafe, Berry Head, Brixham
Guardhouse Cafe, Berry Head, Brixham

This friendly multiple-award-winning cafe is located in Berry Head Nature Reserve, inside a Napoelonic-era fortress. Whether your passion is history, wildlife, walking or relaxing with family and friends in a beautiful place, Berry Head has something for you - even before trying their fabulous food! The team at the Guardhouse are passionate about offering excellent locally sourced food and drink in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with amazing panoramic coastal & sea views. Food is served from 9am until 4pm, ranging from traditional café breakfasts and lunches to unusual home-made specials. All the food is freshly made from top quality, locally-sourced ingredients. They serve delicious and beautiful coffees and Teapigs teas.

Berry Head Nature Reserve
Animals & Nature
Berry Head Nature Reserve, Brixham, Devon

Berry Head National Nature Reserve guards the southern half of Tor Bay. One of the main gateways to the English Riviera Global Geopark, it is an internationally-acclaimed heritage site, home to a fascinating variety of wildlife and history, with recently-restored Napoleonic War fortifications. Enjoy the stunning views and superb local food at the Guardhouse Cafe, visit the Visitor Centre, enjoy one of the many events, and walk the ramparts as the soldiers did 200 years ago. Berry Head is free to visit and open all year. Dogs: Welcome in the Nature Reserve and the Guardhouse Café on a lead

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Walking, Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust

Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust (TCCT); is a local, independent conservation charity. We care for over 1,700 acres of Torbay’s most beautiful natural spaces including Occombe Farm, Cockington Country Park, Berry Head National Nature Reserve and a host of wildlife-friendly woodlands, meadows, stunning cliffs and coastline and 40 miles of footpath and bridleway around Torbay. Torbay’s natural environment is one of its main assets and TCCT is the key organisation caring for these special places. It is vital that these sites are cared for properly and conserved for wildlife and environmental reasons whilst also being accessible for us all to enjoy for recreation.

Clennon Lakes
Natural Wildlife Site
Clennon Lakes, Paignton, Devon

Clennon Lakes is a nature reserve consisting of manmade lakes created by the council in the 1980s. They are the most important wetland site on the English Riviera and home to many species found nowhere else in the Bay. On the lakes, you will find an array of birds including swans, ducks, moorhens, kingfishers, and herons. If you are taking your dog here, the rangers ask that you are respectful and ensure the dog does not disturb the local wildlife who call this home. The walks through Clennon Lakes include pathways and are mostly flat. During winter, it is prone to flooding so wellies are recommended!

Cockington Village and Country Park
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Cockington Village and Country Park, Torquay, Devon

An English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Key Site.  Cockington is a quintessentially English village with Saxon origins which attracts many thousands of visitors each year. Some of the quaint thatched cottages and buildings in the chocolate box village date back to the 16th Century and are mentioned in the Doomsday Book.  Cockington Country Park is a beautiful mix of picturesque well-ordered garden landscapes, open parkland, rural countryside and substantial woodland. Tucked in amongst this 450 acre park are three pretty ornamental lakes, a historic Manor House with craft centre and studios, and a quaint church. Cockington Country Park has received the prestigious Keep Britain Tidy,

Occombe Farm
Occombe Goat, Occombe Farm, Paignton, Devon

Occombe Farm is a mix of visitor attraction with indoor and outdoor play, animal encounters barn and animal paddocks trail; a farm shop and a farm cafe. Occombe Farm Park & Play is Torbay’s newest family visitor attraction. Cuddle the cutest bunnies and guinea pigs. Chuckle with the naughty goats, watch the very bouncy grey-faced Dartmoor sheep. There’s donkeys and a couple of very pretty Shetland ponies too. Play indoors and out! The play barn is a unique space for outdoor play; indoors! For exploring and inspiring children aged 2–12 years. A space for make-believe, fantasies and imaginary adventures.

Paignton Zoo
Lion and lioness, Paignton Zoo, Paignton, Devon

With dozens of different animals across 80 acres of beautiful, spacious grounds – you are in for a really wild time at Paignton Zoo! Located in South Devon, Paignton Zoo is one of the South West’s most exciting visitor attractions and zoos. Come rain or shine, the zoo is a fun-filled day out for the whole family. Discover all your favourite species, big and small, including gorillas, orang-utans, giraffes, lions, tigers, crocodiles, flamingos, red pandas and rhinos, and be ready for a few surprises along the way too. There are many Covid-19 safety measures implemented around the site to ensure that everyone can have an enjoyable and safe visit. For full details, please see the Paignton Zoo website. A must-see is Crocodile Swam

Guided Tour

Unique walking and driving tours of South Devon, English Riviera, Dartmoor, Brixham and beyond Join me on a journey of exploration, discovery and fun with a DEVON&MOOR guided tour. During a full (driving) or half (walking) day excursion we’ll visit hidden gems, stunning landscapes and charming habitats. Be captivated with local knowledge, fascinating facts and breathtaking views. Devon, one of the most beautiful, varied and intriguing counties in the country and I look forward to sharing some of my favourite bits. Based in the English Riviera, I cater for single people, couples and groups of up to six, all of whom can be accommodated in comfort, in our iconic Land Rover Discovery 4 x 4. Our 1/2 day walking tours cater for up to 10 x person



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