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Tarka Trail: Bideford to Barnstaple 10.5 miles, 17 km

Ordnance Survey Map Explorer 139.

(a) Arrive at Instow by walking from Bideford. There is a foot ferry service over to Appledore during the summer, but it only operates around high tide. [Alternatively, arrive on the 1&2 Barnstaple-Appledore bus.] There are two possible routes to Fremington. The first just follows the cycle path inland. The second is the old South West Coast Path route which follows the shore more closely. This route is muddy in places but it provides more opportunity to see wildlife.

(b) This is a great place for observing birds of the lower estuary. The two rivers join here and in the winter it seems to be a favoured place for Great Crested Grebes and the occassional Red-Throated Diver. You'll need a good telescope to see these, the river is about 1km wide here. Other wintering birds include Brent Geese, Wigeon, Common Gull. There was also an American Wigeon reported here in January (which I failed to see).

(c) A couple of hundred lapwing here. Also some Teal and a Dabchick in the inland pool.

(d) Isley Marsh (RSPB). This is closed reserve but the footpaths allow observation from the west and south sides. This is another 'salt marsh with tidal channels' type habitat. It provides plenty of hiding places for things that don't want to be seen. This was a favourite spot for the 3 Spoonbills that wintered on the Taw this winter. It's also good for Teal, at least 200 of them can be seen here. If you have patience and a telescope you might be able to spot a Green-Winged Teal amongst them (I didn't).

(e) Fremington Quay. Another place to get some food if you're still hungry. Watch the redshank from the railway bridge and decide whether to continue the walk to Barnstaple or to walk up the pill to the village and catch the 1&2 Barnstaple-Appledore bus.


Links

My List
  1. Red-Throated Diver
  2. Little Grebe or Dabchick
  3. Great Crested Grebe
  4. Cormorant
  5. Shag
  6. Mute Swan
  7. Brent Goose
  8. Shelduck
  9. Mallard
  10. Wigeon
  11. Teal
  12. Pheasant
  13. Moorhen
  14. Coot
  15. Oystercatcher
  16. Lapwing
  17. Redshank
  18. Curlew
  19. Black-headed Gull
  20. Common Gull
  21. Herring Gull
  22. Great Black-back
  23. Woodpigeon
  24. Rock Pipit
  25. Meadow Pipit
  26. Pied Wagtail
  27. Wren
  28. Robin
  29. Blackbird
  30. Goldcrest
  31. Great Tit
  32. Blue Tit
  33. Long-tailed Tit
  34. Magpie
  35. Jackdaw
  36. Rook
  37. Carrion Crow
  38. Starling
  39. House Sparrow
  40. Chaffinch
  41. Linnet
  42. Goldfinch
  43. Greenfinch
Possibles (?) and...
Very dubious possibles (??)
  1. Greylag Goose?
Other animals...
Created 23/1/05
Last Modified 8/11/05