Dawlish Warren is a double sand spit situated at the mouth of the Exe Estuary in south Devon. It is a SSSI & SAC and is part of the larger Exe Estuary SPA and Ramsar site. The Recording Area covers approximately 500ha of which less than 60ha are terrestrial habitats. The majority of the Recording Area is mudflats and offshore sandbars, but despite its small size the Warren has a wide variety of other habitats; mobile & fixed dune, dune slack, acid grassland, scrub, ponds, reedbed and saltmarsh. Additional areas of tourism development and the sandstone megalith of Langstone Rock add further variety.
Much of the site at risk from sea level rise and coastal erosion, large areas of mobile dune have recently been lost despite a large scale beach recharge. Protective sea defences have also been removed in some places so low-lying areas of the Outer Warren are expected to flood and return to a tidal creek in the next few years.
Species highlights include Sand Crocus, Sea Daffodil, Petalwort, Sand Lizard (introduced), the cranefly Geranomyia bezzi, the marine polychaete Ophelia bicornis, Beach Pill Woodlouse (Armadillidium album) and any number of rare migrants including Great Black-headed Gull, Long-billed Murrelet, Monarch, Crimson Speckled, Vagrant Emperor & Darter, Locust Blowfly (Stomorhina lunata), Lupin Weevil (Charagmus gressorius) and Heath Potter Wasp (Eumenes coartatus).
Teignbridge District Council manages the seaward side of the spit, whilst Devon Wildlife Trust owns the Inner Warren and estuary including Warren Golf Club. This latter area is not open to the public.
More information can be found at www.dawlishwarren.co.uk
Follow us @warrenbirding