Devon’s wildlife

Devon is hugely important for wildlife and supports a wide range of species and habitats of international importance.

Many of our blanket bogs, heaths, old sessile oak woodlands, culm grasslands, sea cliffs, dunes, estuaries, reefs and sea caves are all protected under European legislation. Our healthy otter population is also recognised to be of international importance and a number of globally threatened species, such as the European eel, freshwater pearl mussel and pink sea fan, are found in Devon.  We even have species that are not found anywhere else in the world – the Lundy cabbage flea beetle and the horrid ground weaver spider.

The county is also a stronghold for rare species, such as the greater horseshoe bat and dormouse, and important for many of England’s ‘natural treasures’ including Atlantic ferns, mosses and lichens (associated with old sessile oak woodlands), breeding sea birds, veteran trees and wintering and passage water-birds.

More information on Devon’s wildlife can be found in the The Nature of Devon – The Devon Biodiversity Action Plan and the State of Devon’s Nature report as well as on websites of members of the Devon Wildlife Strategy Group.

The Devon Wildlife Strategy Group facilitates joint working on technical wildlife issues across Devon and is responsible for the following:

Devon guidance, tools and information:

County Wildlife Sites Programme

Devon Rebuilding Nature Map

Devon State of Nature Report, 2013

Devon Wildlife and Planning Guidance

Biodiversity Net Gain and the Defra Offsetting Pilot

The Nature of Devon – The Devon Biodiversity Action Plan – note that the list of key species for Devon was updated in 2018.

Dragonflies in Devon – A guide to identifying Devon’s Dragonflies.