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Heron © Derek Harper (cc-by-sa/2.0) Kingfisher © Rossographer (cc-by-sa/2.0)


Photo © Derek Harper (cc-by-sa/2.0)


NATURE ON THE DART


The River Dart estuary is part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its constantly changing conditions, salt marshes and reed beds provide a rich source of food making it a key habitat for egrets, shellfish, kingfishers and even the odd dolphin. Further under the surface there are the weird and wonderful worms, snails and bacteria on which many other species depend. Parts of the riverbank look beautifully wild, with great clusters of mature oak trees on both sides. In fact the name ‘Dart’ is thought to have the Celtic meaning ‘river where oak trees


grow’. With the low hanging branches and exposed mud at low tide the area can look like a mangrove swamp or rainforest. Visitors can spot herons padding along the tideline looking for their supper and slender cormorants sitting on floating pontoons in their characteristic spread wing posture. To catch a glimpse of a seal, wildlife lovers need to head just beyond the mouth of the river to the Mew Stone. This rocky outcrop about half a mile out to sea is a place where seals go to lay out together, dry off and relax before heading off to hunt once again.


Why not...


View local wildlife up close with Sea Kayak Devon (see advert on back cover)


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