Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve is an area of grassland, sand dunes, mudflats and centres on a 1½ mile long sandspit/beach across the mouth of the Exe Estuary.
As part of the Exe Estuary it is one of the most important places for wildfowl and wading birds in the whole of the South West. Thousands of birds come to feed, on migration, or to spend the winter here.
The dunes and grassland have a host of special plants. Over 600 different types of flowering plants have been recorded on the Warren. This varied Reserve has many different habitats including salt marsh, fresh water ponds, wet meadows and woodland.
The Warren is so important that it is protected for its wildlife by both national and international law.
Each autumn up to 23,000 wildfowl and wading birds travel to the Exe Estuary from the far north to escape the cold. They start arriving in August and stay until late March.
The Warren is vital for their survival providing the main roosting (or resting) place on high tides.
For about 3 hours before and after high tide several thousand birds gather on the Warren’s shores. These include important flocks of Dunlin, Grey Plover, Bar Tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher. Brent Geese, Wigeon and Teal also shelter inshore waters.