Area: 207.0 hectares, 511.4 acres.

Other Information:

Previously part of the Exe Estuary SSSI, a proposed site of the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance.

Within a statutory Bird Sanctuary (Order No 901 of 1951).
Within County Structure Plan Nature Conservation Zone.
Part owned by District Council, part by Devon Trust for Nature Conservation.


This site consists of a large sand-spit with adjoining tidal land at the mouth of the Exe Estuary, an area of international importance for several species of wildfowl and wading birds. It is particularly noted for its flora and over-wintering and migratory bird populations.

A wide variety of habitats is present, including saltmarsh, sand-dune, dune grassland and heath, scrub and freshwater marsh. The flora includes Orchids and several other plants of local distribution, along with many alien and invasive species. Short sward grassland on the warren supports the only mainland British population of the warren crocus  Romulea columnae var occidentalis

The saltmarsh flora includes eel-grass Zostera spp, which is an important food for wigeon Anas Penelopedark-bellied brent goose Branta bernicla bernicla and other species of wildfowl. The estuary also supports nationally important numbers of wintering black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa

Several insects recorded from the warren have a limited distribution in mainland Britain. These include the sand waspAmmophila sabulosa, which occurs on undisturbed, exposed sand-faces. 

The sand-spit and the estuary which it protects also display features of geological and physiographical interest.