< Back to experiences

Torbay is blessed with some amazing places and wildlife, often one relies on the other. For example, the greater horseshoe bats at Berry Head roost in the caves under the headland which were opened up through quarrying. They need cattle grazing on the headland to produce cow pats in which the bats find beetles to feed on. The Trust as guardian of these sites is working to enhance them for wildlife whilst allowing access for visitors in ways that won’t damage them for the future.

Bird

Birds

Watch out for the beautiful cirl bunting year round on Berry Head and at Occombe. See them singing high on top of a bush, feeding on insects and seed throughout the mixed scrub and meadow areas. Peregrin falcons, sparrowhawks and kestrels can be found circling the headland whilst out to sea, fulmars, kittiwakes and gannets can be seen foraging for fish. From the Berry Head Bird Hide spy on our protected guillemots, the largest colony on the South channel coast, living and breeding here October to July.

Butterflies

MINI-BEASTS AND BUTTERFLIES

The flightless bloody nose beetle can be seen trundling slowly over pathways and grassy areas at Berry Head, from April to September and from mid-July to mid-October, hear the prolonged shrill buzzing of the great green bush cricket from its hiding place in long grass and scrub. There are 28 species of butterfly including the rare small blue that flit through over 500 species of plant at Berry Head, a good number of them only occasionally found in the UK.

Autumn walk at Cockington

TREE-MENDOUS TREES

At Cockington Country Park see if you can find the tallest tree in Torbay or the only known specimen of Jamaican Fiddlewood in Europe! There are substantial areas of woodland some of which is native and some plantations. The Trust has been implementing a programme of woodland management which involves felling the conifers and replanting which native species. The timber extracted will be used to produce wood chip for biomass boilers locally. The Country Park also has an Arboretum located to the south of the cricket pitch!

Woodland scene

FABULOUS FLORA & FAUNA

From mid – late May through to early July and August look out for a rare and distinctive collection of plant species across all our sites. The pyramidal and bee orchids can be found amongst limestone grassland of Berry Head. Also found here, flowering from late April to June is the white rock rose too and during June to August spot wild thyme with its beautiful purple flowers particulary outside the North Fort. Blackthorn is an ever-present feature of Berry Head, its white flowers present in spring followed by its black fruit – sloes, from late summer. April is the time of year for the Early Purple Orchid, that can be seen along various parts of the South West Coast Path and amongst grassland we cut on Walls Hill.

Dolphins

MARINE LIFE

Look out for the charming harbour porpoise off the Berry Head throughout the year. The best time to spot one is early on a winter’s morning when there is little boat traffic to disturb them.

Berry Head Bats

GREATER HORSESHOE BAT

These magnificent creatures are resident all year round and roost in the extensive limestone cave systems at Berry Head NNR. It is an internationally important site for this protected species. During the coldest parts of the year the bats retreat further in to these systems to ‘hibernate’ searching for the optimum temperature to do this. At Berry Head we also have a maternity roost which, during the summer months, houses the pregnant females and then latterly their nursing young. You can join us on a ranger led Bat Walk held throughout the summer months to find out more.

Trust News

Keep up with our news, latest events and special offers…

Signup >