Exploring the Marine Wildlife of North Devon

Discover the incredible marine wildlife of North Devon! From schools of colourful fish to playful dolphins, explore the stunning coastline and its abundant wildlife.

8/14/20222 min read

North Devon is home to a wide variety of marine wildlife, from the smallest plankton to the largest sharks. The coastal waters here are teaming with life, providing a home to a diverse range of species, many of which can be seen from the shoreline or on boat trips.

So, what kind of marine wildlife can you expect to see in North Devon? Here are some of the most notable species:

  1. Grey seals - Grey seals are a common sight around the North Devon coastline. They can often be seen basking on rocks, or swimming and playing in the water. Grey seals can weigh up to 300kg and live for up to 35 years. They are curious and friendly animals, but it's important to remember to keep a safe distance and never to approach them on land or in the water.

  2. Dolphins and porpoises - North Devon's waters are home to both common and bottlenose dolphins, as well as harbour porpoises. These playful creatures are often seen leaping out of the water, riding the waves of boats, or swimming alongside kayakers and paddleboarders. Dolphins and porpoises are very intelligent and social animals, and watching them in their natural habitat is a truly unforgettable experience.

  3. Basking sharks - The basking shark is the second-largest fish in the world, and North Devon is one of the best places in the UK to see them. These gentle giants can grow up to 12 metres in length and feed on plankton by filtering seawater through their gills. Basking sharks can often be seen close to the surface during the summer months, when they come to the coast to feed.

  4. Seabirds - North Devon's coastline is an important breeding ground for a variety of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, razorbills, and kittiwakes. These birds can often be seen diving and fishing in the water, or nesting on the cliffs and rocky outcrops.

  5. Crustaceans - The rocky shores of North Devon are home to a variety of crustaceans, including crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. These fascinating creatures are an important part of the marine ecosystem and can often be seen scurrying around rock pools and crevices.

If you're interested in seeing some of this marine wildlife up close, there are plenty of options available. Boat trips are a popular choice, and there are many operators who run tours along the North Devon coast. These trips can take you to some of the best spots for seeing dolphins, porpoises, and basking sharks, and give you the chance to experience the thrill of being out on the open water.

Alternatively, you could try your luck from the shore. Many of North Devon's beaches offer excellent opportunities for spotting marine wildlife, particularly in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is at its best. The South West Coast Path also provides a fantastic vantage point for spotting dolphins, porpoises, and seabirds, and is a great way to explore the coastline.

If you're planning to go sea swimming or surfing in North Devon, it's important to be aware of the potential dangers posed by marine wildlife. While most species are harmless to humans, some can be dangerous, particularly if they feel threatened or cornered. To stay safe, always keep a safe distance from any marine wildlife you encounter and never approach them on land or in the water. And remember to always respect the marine wildlife you encounter during your visit to North Devon. This means keeping a safe distance, not feeding or touching the animals, and disposing of any rubbish responsibly. By doing so, you can help ensure that these amazing creatures continue to thrive in their natural habitat for years to come.

Overall, North Devon's marine wildlife is a fascinating and diverse array of species that are well worth exploring. Whether you're a keen wildlife enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out, there are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal in some of the UK’s most stunning scenery.