Walk - Budleigh Salterton to White Bridge
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
This walk is one of a series of walks to be found at www.phototrails.org The website aims "to help everyone discover and enjoy access to the countryside, tailored to their own needs and preferences." It is run by the Fieldfare Trust who work with people with disabilities and countryside managers to improve access to the countryside for everyone.
- At the northern end of the car park (away from the sea) take the Coast Path to the right as it heads to the banks of the estuary and then curves to the left to travel inland beside the river.
The Otter Estuary is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Extending to 24 hectares (just under 60 acres), the valley consists of salt marsh, reed beds, low-lying meadows and pastureland, and it is very fertile, providing habitats for a rich diversity of wildlife.
The salt marsh vegetation and valuable invertebrate life attract many different species of summer breeding and over-wintering birds. On the eastern side of the pebble ridge it is possible to see cormorants and oystercatchers, while in the seaward and salt marsh areas, wigeon and teal may be seen, along with other migratory ducks, as well as Brent Geese.
Along the lower part of the estuary the richness of wildlife is supported by a variety of important salt marsh plants. These include glasswort, which is exposed at low tide, and the common cord-grass, whose tall flower spikes remain above the water. Further upstream rushes and reeds predominate, while bushes like hawthorn and blackthorn provide a riot of blossom in the spring and are an important supply of berries for the birds in the autumn.
Swans and waders are often seen here, as well as herons and the much smaller white egrets. Out over the sea a wide assortment of gulls can be seen wheeling in search of fish. Upstream you may be lucky enough to catch the blue and orange flash of a kingfisher as it hovers over the water in its hunt for food.
Fish in the river include brown trout, and several sea species like sea trout, grey mullet and even salmon can be seen a long way upstream.
- When you reach White Bridge on South Farm Road, rest awhile and then retrace your steps along the footpath beside the river.