Will you spend some time along South England’s beaches for a little seaside getaway? Here are some handy tips for planning your perfect Dawlish Warren holidays.
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Why is Dawlish Warren a Nature Reserve?
The national nature reserve in Devon is home to 23,000 wildfowl and wading birds in autumn that have flown south to escape the harsh winter. As a result, the area has become a major breeding hub for international migrating birds. See the latest bird sightings here.
Not only are the birds and their nesting sites protected, but the Warren itself was designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It features dune grassland, humid dune slacks, meadows, , ponds, mobile dunes and more. Special plants that grow here are the endangered petalwort and the sand crocus.
Is Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve free?
Yes, you can enter the nature reserve for free. There is a visitor centre and public toilets near the car park. However, not all areas are accessible by the public, which include the bird zones of the mudflats or saltmarsh as well as the Golf Course.
What is the Dawlish Warren weather like?
A visit to Dawlish Warren is a great idea as the weather is mild and thanks to its micro climate, the sun is out more often than in nearby resorts.
In summer, temperatures are around 21°C (70°F) in the day and 12°C (54°F) at night. Humidity is around 75% and there’s very little rain. You may be particularly lucky though, as in recent years temperatures have increased. The highest temperature recorded for June, for example, was 29°C (84°F).
In spring and autumn, the temperatures are around 4-16°C (39-61°F), so it’s rather chilly. It’s also much more humid and there’s a good chance for rain falling on 15-19 days out of the month.
For winter, expect temperatures to be mostly between 10°C and freezing point. That being said, there have been recordings of minus temperatures, such as -9°C (16°F) as the lowest record for January. There’s also a pretty good chance for rainfall on most days, though it’s only up to 20mm per month.
What are the Dawlish Warren Tide Times?
Since Dawlish Warren is right by the coast, this means the water levels are also dependent on the tide. See the tide times here.
At lower tide, you have much more beach to walk and can see the sandy banks stretch for miles. Should you be here for bird watching, high tide is better as birds aren’t so far out on the water and you can see them better.
The ideal time for bird watching is 2-3 hours before and after each high tide. However, please walk no further than groyne 9 on the beach to not startle them.
Also, walking your dog during high tide and especially on windy and rainy days isn’t wise. Please heed the signs indicating which parts along the beach in Dawlish Warren are save for dogs to walk on.
Is there a Dawlish Warren beach?
Yes, as part of the Dawlish Warren nature reserve, you can experience long stretches of beach. Stay away from the dunes as they are used as nesting grounds by the birds and shouldn’t be disrupted even if you do find an unmarked trail. Always stick to the signs.
The Dawlish Warren beach is 1.5miles long and encloses the Exe Estuary. The walk along the beach is possible but you can’t do a round trip and have to walk back.
Please check the tide times to not be cut off for an hour once you pass groyne 18. Due to erosion, there is only access to the dunes between groyne 10 and 12.
What kind of Dawlish Warren shops are there?
Local shops near the beach mostly sell the typical seaside things, such as outdoor and beach clothing, kids toys, sweets and souvenirs. However, there are also a few restaurants and cafes.
Does Dawlish Warren have hotels?
If you aren’t a fan of camping on the Dawlish campsites, there are a few hotels in Dawlish Warren to choose from. Here are a few examples for different budgets.
Langstone Cliff Hotel
A family-run hotel in a former Victorian gentleman’s residence with views over the beach.
Bathrooms are ensuite. Breakfast is full English/Irish and buffet.
Perks: child friendly, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa
Dawlish Warren Apartments
Get your own apartment with garden views and kitchen for self catering.
It’s a mere 5 minute walk to the beach. Rooms have a living room, a dining area, 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
Perks: free Wi-Fi, oven, fridge, flat screen TV
Is Dawlish Warren for kids?
Kids will enjoy Dawlish Warren for sure. They can hang out by the beach, nag their parents for ice cream and souvenirs, and enjoy kid-themed attractions in Dawlish.
For instance, there is a Dawlish Spy Mission Treasure Trail or Funky Frog’s Play Pad indoor playground. In nearby Exmouth, there is a bowling centre, indoor climbing and another Treasure Trail.
How do I get to Dawlish Warren?
By car, you can reach Dawlish Warren via the A379 and turn into Beach Road, where you cross under the tunnel. Shortly after, you’ll see a large pay and display car park.
If you don’t have access to a (rental) car or taking the taxi isn’t an option, you can easily reach Dawlish Warren via train or local bus. It’s not that hard to get around Devon with public transport. I tried both options and your pick entirely depends on your budget and location.
In case you are in Newton Abbot, Exmouth, or any other nearby town with train station, you can catch the Southwestern train to Dawlish Warren. (Note: Don’t get off at Dawlish in Devon, that’s a different stop.)
Alternatively, you can make your way to Exmouth and take the ferry to Starcross. From there, jump on a train, catch the bus or walk down to Dawlish Warren. See ferry times and timetable here.
For bus travel, take the line 22, which operates between Dawlish Warren and South Devon College. Stops inbetween include Teignmouth and Torquay, which connect to buses to Newton Abbot as well.
More tips: Visiting Teignmouth for the day
Can I hike Dawlish Warren?
There are paths around the nature reserve Dawlish Warren and you can bike around the outer ones. Inside the protected area, you can only walk on foot and have to follow the designated trails to protect the wildlife. This also means leashing your dogs, not having open fire BBQs, etc.
More from the Devon Blog
- Where to see bluebells in Devon in spring
- Visiting Totnes for the day
- Hiking Dartmoor National Park – the best trails
- The best cottages in Dartmoor
- Why Ashburton in Devon is well worth a visit
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