A must-visit day outOver 170 acres of diverse habitat and wildlife, fascinating history and stunning scenery
Stroll, hike, run or simply sit and enjoy the panoramic view from one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the world. Over 170 acres of diverse habitat and wildlife, fascinating history and stunning scenery.
This is a must-visit day out and is either a pleasant walk or short drive from Brixham. Dogs are welcome but may need to be kept on leads in certain areas when livestock are present (see signs on site).
Disability access is good with tarmac or laid paths into both the North and South Forts
Within the Northern Fort you can find; the Guardhouse, the Artillery Store now an information on our 2nd most famous resident: centre, and the shortest, highest & deepest lighthouse in the country. The South-West Coast Path runs through the reserve, originally used bythe coastguard as a means to get from lighthouse to lighthouse patrolling for smugglers.
Take an amble between the two historic forts on the headland at Berry Head or take a circular walk through 170 acres of nature reserve incorporating the South West Coast Path. All the paths at Berry Head are either tarmac or even surfaces that are suitable for pushchairs, bikes or scooters.
Berry Head is home to a colourful and rare assortment of plants, animal species and grasslands – the site has recorded 200 varieties of bird, fifty of which breed within or close to the reserve. Hidden in the quarry caves are a small colony of greater horseshoe bats, one of Britain’s most endangered species. The high cliffs are host to the largest breeding colonies of guillemots on the south coast of England and these are Berry Head’s most famous residents, peaking at 1,400 birds during the breeding season. These cliffs are subject to an Area of Special Protection order between March and July, for breeding season, to safeguard the colony from disturbances by marine vessels and climbers. Follow the link for more detailed information.
Out to sea, the regularly-sighted harbour porpoise and bottle-nosed dolphins are joined on occasion by a host of cetaceans: sperm, fin, humpback and pilot whales have all been sighted in Torbay in recent years, along with irregular visits of huge pods of common dolphins (a super-pod of over 800 was spotted in 2014) and rarer Risso’s & white-beaked dolphins in 2015.
Towering 200 feet above the English Channel, the headland once protected Torbay’s valuable naval anchorage during theNapoleonic War(1803- 1815). The two garrisoned forts, dating back to 1795, protected Brixham Harbour from the threat of a French invasion .
The Northern Fort housed 600 men (regular army & local militia) plus twelve 42-pounder cannons located on the end of the headland.
The Southern Fort protected the Northern Fort from land attack and contained a barracks, powder magazine, kitchen and storehouse.
During the 1780’s, limestone was quarried from Berry Head and continued for over 200 years, in some years producing over 200,000 tons of material. The purity of limestone long made Berry Head important for agriculture, industry and construction and so extensive were the workings that in places the quarry floor falls below sea level.