Monday, 20 April 2009

Berry Head

Today we went to Berry Head country park. Berry Head is the huge headland you can see from Torquay. It is limestone and supports a huge amount of rare plants and butterflies. Today was a lovely spring day, slightly misty out to sea.

There are also the remains of a Napoleonic Fort which was built to protect the fleet when it was at anchor in the bay. This was used as a Powder room, and the slits in the sides were used to keep it from becoming damp.

I spotted this lovely little white rock rose, which is rare, there is only one other place in Britain that it grows.

There are wonderful views down the coast line..

and lovely flowers like bluebells and

ivy leaved toadflax which looks very pretty growing on the grey granite walls

This lovely sea beet was just coming into flower

and the trees are unfurling leaves of the prettiest greens

We walked along the path with butterflies dancing and the overpowering coconut smell of the gorse or furze as they say in Devon filling the air. Sitting enjoying the early morning sun were these two fine soay sheep, with their wonderful curved horns.

They help to keep the pasture down, and apparently they dont have a problem with dogs, well with those horns I hardly think so!

Berry Head also supports huge numbers of nesting birds, it has the largest colony of guillemots in the south, and also Kittiwakes, Fulmars Shags and comorants, as well as all the other gulls. This cliff is where the Guillemots nest, on tiny ledges, they make an enormous din, and the smell is something else!

We walked round to the North Fort

where there are still one or two cannons in place

I was pleased to see the orchids are flowering

and also found a small clump of cowslips, which I was delighted to see

Gazing over the wall out to sea, I spotted this Peregrine sitting on the cliff edge, no doubt standing guard on his nest somewhere on the cliff

On the end of the headland is the lighthouse, it is the smallest, deepest and highest of all lighthouses in Britain..

Having enjoyed walking round the headland, we walked down to the quarry, where the limestone had been taken for buildings.

This is where some of the birds nest, there were several pairs of Fulmars, some of which took off as we walked underneath, screaming at us, fortunately I knew what they had in mind, and managed to jump out of the way of one well aimed deposit!

The Thrift is just beginning to come in with its pretty pink flowers

It was lovely and cool in the shadow of the huge cliffs, we could see the Peregrine way above sitting keeping watch, although we couldnt spot his nest site.

Having enjoyed our walk around we headed back up the steep windy road, enjoying the lovely sea views as we went. It was still misty out to sea, and we heard all the tankers blasting their fog horns, one after another.

I was amazed to see this wild strawberry beside the roadside, complete with a dear little strawberry. Wouldnt need much cream for that...

There were some more cowslips too, and when I looked over the edge, they were scattered all over the side of the cliff

In the distance I could see Brixham breakwater, and across the bay a misty Torquay

When we reached the top of the quarry, we walked back to the car through a little wood, where there were more lovely orchids..

and dainty little ferns were unfurling..

and the sky was forget me not blue through the pretty trees.

2 comments:

Ramblings From Spain said...

That was such a lovely post, and with so many interesting things to look at too! I'm SO glad the weather has been good for you on so many of your days off.
I thought the shaggy old horned sheep were lovely, and the ferns in a circle looked like they were having a pow wow! x

Piecefulafternoon said...

What a lovely walk - and the flowers - oh my. I've never seen the thrifts growing in the wild before - here they are a garden plant - and a fairly spendy one at that. I have one plant - hopefully it will be divided this fall and I'll have two.