Dawlish Warren Beach Management Scheme

There are some big plans ahead for Dawlish Warren. The fear is that a strong southerly storm could cut through the Neck of the Warren and split the sand dunes into two. This will then increase storminess in the estuary and create a heightened flood risk in the village of Dawlish Warren.

This information board at the Warren explains the detail.

dw2Looking across to Exmouth

dw3One of the groynes that needs to be replaced.

dw4This is part of the first phase of the project that was completed a couple of years ago – an internal bund that will hold back the sea during storm surges.

Later in the year a new bund will be built near the Neck made of geotextile bags.

Brent geese

The sky over Dawlish Warren looked quite threatening but as it turned out it only rained for around 15 minutes.

A nice little flock of Brent Geese on the 6th fairway on the Warren Golf Course

They were a bit anxious as we walked past them but they soon returned to feeding – there aren’t many birds that survive by eating grass and when you are that big you need to eat a lot of it.

The last couple of days have been brutal for Britain – turn to nature for solace

The last couple of days have been brutal for Britain and has left the nation aghast – what has preceded it has been largely unedifying and not  worthy of our country.

Many of us are in shock and fearful for the future. We have a very challenging week ahead of us on many counts and at the end of it some will be ecstatic and some will be desolate.

My suggestion to you for this weekend is to go to you local favourite piece of green space – it doesn’t matter whether it is in the countryside  or in an urban area. I promise you it will give you solace, it will give you time to take in some deep breathes and relax. It will also give you time to  focus on the wonder and the awe of nature. You will feel better and you will be re-charged to tackle the coming week.

One of my favourite places is Dawlish Warren – it looks spectacular at the moment and here are a few photographs I have taken recently. Some of the plants are originally from Britain and some are not – I’m not going to say which are which because they are all beautiful and make the Warren what it is.

Southern Marsh Orchid 2
Southern Marsh Orchid

Southern Marsh Orchid 1A close up

Yellow bartsia 1Yellow Bartsia

Yellow bartsia 2Another close up

Blue-eyed grassBlue-eyed grass

Bird's foot trefoilBird’s foot trefoil

Evening primroseEvening primrose

Hare's-tail grassHare’s tail grass

Marsh helleborineThe buds of marsh helleborine

Marsh heleborineAnd this is what they will will look like soon – there is hope in the future!

The future is uncertain BUT there is solace in nature and it will carry us through if you only imbibe






Never seen so much Adder’s tongue fern

I was down at Dawlish Warren yesterday – in one of the dune slacks close to the visitor centre I found an Adder’s Tongue Fern – once I got my eye I could see hundreds of them. Never seen so many before anywhere!

To those people who have never seen an Adder’s Tongue Fern before I suspect most would not recognise it as a fern at all.

Adder's tongue fern 1
The blade of the fern with its spore bearing stalk.

Adder's tongue fern 2Get your eye in and there are over a dozen Adder’s Tongue Fern plants in this square metre alone

Adder’s Tongue Ferns are plants of unimproved grassland and are usually pretty difficult to find as they blend into the similarly coloured grassland. There are three species in the UK – two very rare and this one which is more abundant but not at all common. The Latin name for the genus is Ophioglossum. It comes from the Greek ophis which is a snake and glossa which is the tongue.

I’ve always found this description rather baffling as snakes (and adders in particular) have forked tongues…..

An Adder with its forked tongue
By Thomas Brown via Wikimedia Commons

I guess the spore bearing stalk resembles a snake tongue before the fork!

Sand crocus on the Warren

At the end of March until mid April one of Britain’s rarest plants comes into flower on Dawlish Warren – the Sand Crocus Romulea columnae. Most of the plants grow on the Warren Golf Course on the first and second holes. It is a tiny plant which only opens its flowers when the sun shines.

Sand crocus
It has six petals and long thin leaves – the petals are very pale violet with purple lines

Warren 3
The plant only grows in the UK on Dawlish Warren and another coastal site in Cornwall

Forget me not
The sand crocus grows in very short species rich turf along with other plants such as this Forget-me-not, this is possibly the Early Forget-me-not but I didn’t take a specimen to confirm the identification.

This is the Common Storkbill

Toast the coast

We went for a walk along the coast on Saturday afternoon to Orcombe Point to celebrate the Trust’s 50 Years of its Neptune Coastal campaign. There were lots of people out and about enjoying the sea, the walks and coastal views. In my view its about the most successful and worthwhile thing the NT has ever done. Long may it continue.

Orcombe point
Orcombe Point with its ‘Jurassic Coast’ needle made from all the different types of rock found along the Jurassic Coast

Marbled white 2
We also saw a few beautiful marbled white butterflies – the NT is now turning its attention to bringing wildlife back to our countryside  – lets hope that is as successful as Neptune has been

Marsh heleborine
On Sunday I visited Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve which is owned and managed by Teignbridge District Council. A fantastic display of marsh helleborine orchids

Strangalia maculataAlong with this great longhorn beetle – Strangalia maculata

The rarest wild plant in Devon or is that Britain?

I went to Dawlish Warren yesterday to look for the Sand Crocus Romulea columnae. It only grows on the Warren and one other place  in the UK (Polruan in Cornwall). It was first discovered in 1834. Here is a little more information.

Warren 36 petals – stringy leaves

Warren 4It is about 4mm across

Warren 5It flowers from late March to April and the flowers only open in the sunshine