It’s common to spot the protruding heads of inquisitive seals in the South West. Although sightings are never guaranteed, you can also spot roaming pods of puffing porpoises and common and bottlenose dolphins in Devon – if you’re in the right place.
Berry Head, Brixham
Dolphins are regularly spotted interrupting calm Devon waters a couple miles off Brixham. Relax in national nature reserve Berry Head for a couple hours looking out to sea. It has iconic views on the best of days and its peninsula makes it a scenic and opportune spot to try and catch dolphin displays. Alternatively, wildlife cruises like FunFish also leave from Brixham, allowing you a chance to spot seals, porpoises and dolphins closer up.
Ilfracombe Sea Safari
Jet off with Ilfracombe Sea Safari and expect a trip that’s bouncy, speedy and lots of fun. Knowledgeable skippers will take you out on an exhilarating boat ride to where seals sun bathe and pods of dolphins swim. It’s a thrilling journey and one of your best chances of witnessing the more elusive wildlife of the South West. For a more relaxing experience, they also offer wildlife cruises to Lundy.
Dartmouth Coastal Cruise
In Dartmouth, coastal cruises that sail out into the English Channel also offer a chance to observe its wildlife. Take the lazy cruise that chugs along the River Dart. Although not dedicated to animal or bird spotting, the Coastal Cruise views the marine creatures and landscapes of Stoke Fleming, Slapton and Blackpool sands from a different perspective.
Porpoises and dolphin pods are often spotted off of Labrador Bay. Take the South West Coastal path from the beach at Shaldon and walk along the cliffs, not just for iconic coastal views but for the chance to see splashy dolphins breaching out in the water offshore.
Reports of dolphin sightings are common on this stretch of South Devon shoreline and it’s a simple walk on the South West Coast Path to Prawle point, with undulating green fields on one side and rough dramatic cliffs on the other. As the southernmost point of Devon it’s worth investigating just for its variety of coves and inlets.
Sea Kayak Devon
Sea Kayak Devon offer guided expeditions exploring the secret ins and outs of the coastline from the perspective of a kayaker. Quiet kayaks are a great way to stealthily observe marine life without disturbing them, allowing you to get close. Discovery tours are suitable for beginners and there’s plenty of time to see wild seals before toasting marshmallows on a driftwood fire.
Lundy Island Seals
North Devon’s peaceful Lundy Island is teeming with wildlife, including resident grey seals. Whilst spotting them above waves is common, if you’re a diver you can make the most of guided ‘seal dive’ trips for a chance to swim amongst these playful animals in their natural habitat. Dolphins and porpoises also frequent the waters around Lundy.
Lead Image by Adrien Stachowiak (Unsplash)