A National Nature Reserve

 

Standing proud at the southern tip of Tor Bay the impressive limestone promontory of Berry Head, with its 60 metre (200 feet) high cliffs has for centuries offered shelter and protection to wildlife, people and nation.

Berry Head boasts a hugely impressive list of official designations - all of which hint at its national and international significance for nature conservation.

From the fragile, rare plant and insect life of its limestone grassland to the thousand-strong guillemot colony - the southern most in the UK - and its many sea caves, Berry Head is exceptional for its wildlife.

Particular rarities include the small blue butterfly, cirl bunting, white rock rose, several orchid species and the Devonshire cup coral. The heart of the headland is 400 million year old limestone and was once a reef in a shallow tropical sea south of the equator. You can find evidence of dramatic climatic events in the cliffs and fossils in the limestone of the fort walls.

People, as well as geology, have shaped Berry Head, most dramatically by quarrying its limestone over the last 300 years. Used to build the Napoleonic forts, quarrying continued even up to the 1950s. Today the quarry's quiet seclusion is ideal for a range of wildlife from seabirds to bats.

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