– Luke Thomas;
Summer is undoubtedly when Braunton and its surrounding areas are at their most vibrant. The longer days draw out all kinds of plants and animals you can’t find at any other time of the year, and the warmer weather allows for plenty of outdoor events and activities.
Nature in and around Braunton this summer
Braunton Burrows becomes covered with vivid patches of wildflowers in the summer. The evening primrose is one of the most conspicuous of these. It is easily recognisable by the large yellow flowers that adorn it’s tall stems and can be found on the burrows from July until October. This species is not indigenous to Britain, but was introduced in the 17th century. It has since established itself in the natural environment and is considered to be naturalised.
Eleven species of orhcid are known to call the Burrows home, but at this time of year, you are most likely to see the pyramidal orchid. This can be easily identified by the pyramid-shaped arrangement of the flowers, which range from pale pink to deep purple in colour.
An array of insects are attracted to the blooming wildflowers. Burnet moths are particularly eye-catching with their navy blue wings and bright red spots. These spots serve as a warning to potential predators – Burnet moths produce hydrogen cyanide, which would leave a foul taste for any bird attempting to make a meal out of them! However, there’s no need to worry if you encounter one of these moths yourself, they are harmless to humans.
Butterflies are a common site on the Burrows where 33 species have been identified, but they can be found throughout Braunton and the surrounding area. Some of the most common and eye-catching species are the small tortoishell, red admiral, painted lady, and the common blue.
Insects are not the only flying creatures you can see at this time of year. After leaving their winter hibernation in the spring, bats can be seen throughout the summer. The best time to see them is at dusk when they begin to emerge from their roosts, and, crucially, when there is still enough light to see them! Species you are most likely to encounter include common and soprano pipistrelles, noctules, and even greater horseshoe bats. Although their population suffered a dramatic decline over the last century, greater horseshoe bats are making a recovery after receiving conservation attention.
Things to do in and around Braunton this summer
If you’re interested in seeing some of the wildlife discussed above, why not join us for one of our walks over the coming months? There’s something to suit every interest, from birds to bees, and even a chance to get a better look at some bats.
The Tarka Trail and Southwest Coast Path offer a way to explore North Devon on your own. The Tarka trail, which forms part of the larger Southwest Coast Path, passes through Ilfracombe, Braunton, Barnstaple, and beyond.
A contemporary craft market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. With a variety of crafts on sale, the market provides an excellent opportunity to pick up a gift, souvenir, or even just a treat for yourself!
Finally, where would North Devon be without its beautiful beaches? Croyde and Saunton are closest to Braunton, with Woolacombe and Westward Ho! slightly further afield.
Photo credit: All photos courtesy of Martin Batt.