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315 Barnstaple - Exeter
657 South Molton - Barnstaple

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Tarka Trail: Braunton to Barnstaple 5.5 miles, km

Ordnance Survey Maps Explorer OL 9 or Explorer 139.

(a) Arrive on the 3 Ilfracombe-Barnstaple bus. The bus stop is between the Banbury's Garden Centre and the start of the dual-carriage way. (The Garden Centre has a nice cafe but it can be busy if you arrive at lunchtime during tourist season, Bank Holiday weekend etc.) Access across this road has been improved recently and there is also a nice cycle path down to the Tarka Trail. [Alternatively get of the bus at Chivenor and join the Tarka Trail there, it's just across the road from the bus stop].

The area the estuary here is a nice mixture of mud and pebbles. The Taw estuary is mainly sandy, so this area attracts a bit more diversity. Dabchick, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Little Stint, Redshank, Greenshank, and Curlew can all be seen here.

(b) Sewage Works. Here, one afternoon in winter, I saw 7 Grey Herons, 16 Little Egrets, and a Spoonbill. Another day there was a Ruddy Shelduck, with the usual Shelduck.

(c) This is another good spot. A small stream joins the estuary here. On the landward side of the embankment there are a few small pools that shetler Teal. The estuary side is favoured by Black-tailed Godwit in the winter.

(d) Pottington. The salt marsh here, like Penhill Marsh is another place where the Little Egrets like to hide in the channels. In a hard winter Bewicks will join Mute Swans grazing here.

(e) You occassional see some locally rare birds at the confluence of the Taw and Yeo. I've seen Dabchick, Gadwall, Goosander, Bar-tailed Godwit, and Kingfisher here. It's also one of the better spots for Black-tailed Godwit. If I have some spare time while I'm in Barnstaple, I try to get down here for half an hour to see what's around.

(f) I find that's it's better to walk from Ashford to Barnstaple that the other way round. With the 3 Ilfracombe-Barnstaple service operating only every half hour, it's better to wait in Barnstaple (where it's not too cold and there's a nice second-hand bookshop) than at Ashford bus stop (where it can get be windy and you are never sure if the bus will be on time).


Links

My List
  1. Little Grebe or Dabchick
  2. Cormorant
  3. Little Egret
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Spoonbill
  6. Mute Swan
  7. Bewick's Swan
  8. Greylag Goose
  9. Canada Goose
  10. Shelduck
  11. Ruddy Shelduck
  12. Mallard
  13. Gadwall
  14. Pintail
  15. Wigeon
  16. Teal
  17. Pochard
  18. Goosander
  19. Red-breasted Merganser
  20. Buzzard
  21. Kestrel
  22. Pheasant
  23. Water Rail
  24. Moorhen
  25. Coot
  26. Oystercatcher
  27. Ringed Plover
  28. Lapwing
  29. Knot
  30. Dunlin
  31. Redshank
  32. Greenshank
  33. Black-tailed Godwit
  34. Bar-tailed Godwit
  35. Curlew
  36. Black-headed Gull
  37. Herring Gull
  38. Lesser Black-back
  39. Great Black-back
  40. Woodpigeon
  41. Collared Dove
  42. Swift
  43. Kingfisher
  44. Swallow
  45. House Martin
  46. Meadow Pipit
  47. Pied Wagtail
  48. Grey Wagtail
  49. Wren
  50. Dunnock
  51. Robin
  52. Song Thrush
  53. Blackbird
  54. Chiff Chaff
  55. Goldcrest
  56. Great Tit
  57. Blue Tit
  58. Magpie
  59. Jackdaw
  60. Rook
  61. Carrion Crow
  62. Starling
  63. House Sparrow
  64. Chaffinch
  65. Linnet
  66. Goldfinch
  67. Greenfinch
Possibles (?) and...
Very dubious possibles (??)
  1. Little Stint?
Other animals...
  1. Stoat
  2. Rabbit
  3. Bank Vole
Created 23/1/05
Last Modified 8/11/05