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Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve

Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve covers over 204 hectares and centres on a 1½ mile long sandspit across the mouth of the Exe Estuary.

Site Description

The Warren is a key part the Exe Estuary Special Protection Area and Ramsar site - an area of international importance for wildlife. It provides the main roosting site for huge numbers of wading birds and wildfowl that spend the autumn and winter on the Estuary. The Warren is also designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its dune grassland, humid dune slacks and the tiny, rare 'petalwort' that grows there. As well as fixed and mobile dunes, there are meadows, copses, reedbeds, ponds and saltmarsh here - and the whole sandspit is of considerable geomorphological interest.

The Warren is in joint ownership.

  • Teignbridge District Council owns and manages all the seaward parts of the sandspit and provides the Ranger Service and Visitor Centre. This land is open to the public.
  • Devon Wildlife Trust owns the Inner Warren Reserve, which is leased to the Warren Golf Club, plus the saltmarsh. This area is not open to the public. 
Dawlish Warren is highly valued by local people and visitors for a variety of amenity uses and it accommodates one of the main tourist resort beaches in Teignbridge. The Warren is also intensively used by school and college groups to study how active management can help to preserve a sensitive site under a wide range of pressures.
The Warren was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1978 and was then designated a National Nature Reserve in 2000. It has been an SSSI since 1981, and is also a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation (since 2005).


Dawlish Warren Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Dawlish Warren aerial view

Contact Reserve Rangers

Dawlish Warren Visitor Centre 01626 863980
Teignbridge District Council Offices 01626 215884(Answerphone)

Or by post:
Dawlish Warren Ranger
Green Spaces and Active Leisure
Teignbridge District Council
Forde Road Offices
Forde Road
Newton Abbot
Devon TQ12 4AD

Please help us continue to balance visitor use with the needs of the rare and important wildlife:

  • Don't disturb the bird flocks on the beach.
  • Comply with dog byelaws - view or download a leaflet.
  • Follow the guidelines for using watercraft near the Warren - view or download a leaflet.
  • Don't cycle, camp or light fires anywhere on the Warren.
  • Take your litter home and use the dog bin * Keep to the paths and leave the flowers for others to enjoy
  • Follow the guidelines for fishing at the Warren - ask the Rangers for a leaflet
  • Horse riding is not permitted anywhere on the beach or dunes at any time.