Explore Braunton - The Most Biodiverse Parish in England

Crow Point

Crow Point marks the most southerly point of the beach and here the sand curves around in the shape of a hook between the sea and the estuary. The point has formed since 1809 but is vulnerable to the ravages of the sea and bad weather, causing concern that the ‘neck’ might be breached and the tip of the point made into a shallow island. Reinforcements have been attempted but it is still an area under constant threat of erosion. 


The White House near Crow Point, 2006This area is very important for birds, which rely on the estuary as an essential feeding ground. It also represents a critical place for migrating birds to rest, some of which are travelling enormous distances to or from such places as Africa and the Arctic. Species include over-wintering waders particularly lapwing and golden plover as well as curlew. It is also one of few places in the country that can regularly offer winter views of spoonbill.    

When the tide is out, the birds congregate on the mud and feed but when the tide is in they are forced to retreat to the edges of the dunes. It is unfortunate therefore when walkers circle the end of Crow Point and disturb the birds, who must find elsewhere to rest until the next low tide.

Ringed Plover

Ringed ploverOne particularly sensitive species is the ringed plover. They unfortunately seem unaware of the large tidal range and their nests have, in the past, been washed out by the rising tide.

Two pairs of ringed plover nested above high water mark during 2006 but one nest was destroyed by vehicles that illegally parked on the beach. From the other nest, four chicks fledged. Three survived for several days but eventually succumbed to human activity in this popular recreational area.

Ringed plover fenceSince 2007, a project has been underway to help the ringed plover at Crow Point. A fence is erected during the nesting season to prevent walkers or vehicles from trampling the eggs or young birds in a prescribed area of the beach.

If you would like to help with projects like this, please contact the Education Warden for Braunton Burrows, John Breeds, via Braunton Countryside Centre. He and his wife Mary regularly organise volunteer parties, beach cleaning exercises and guided walks with a variety of themes.

explore braunton, the most biodiverse parish in england - a north devon aonb project