Whatever the weather, in North Devon we’re fortunate to have an abundance of flora and fauna flourishing in the lush surroundings. The rugged moorlands, wild coasts, woodlands and stunning beaches are home to a rich biodiversity of wildlife and plants. So, pull on your walking boots and check out our top picks to look out for on your early spring explorations.
A beautiful and anticipated sight in winter months, Snowdrops only flower from January to March, making them a welcome assurance that the lighter days of spring are approaching. They grow from a bulb and produce around two to three linear leaves and an erect flowering stem with a white, nodding flower at the top.
A little odd-looking but a pretty cool and rare spot. The thick green strands of the String-of-Sausages lichen (usnea articulate) and the yellowy crust of the increasingly rare Scrambled Egg lichen (fulgensia fulgens) grow especially well in South West England. They grow exceptionally well in the dunes of Braunton Burrows.
These feathered friends might not breed in the UK but visit us erratically in winter during what’s called ‘irruption years’ (food shortages and population increases triggering the moves) and have been known to nest in the South West. They are plump, similar size to a starling and a reddish-brown with a black throat and yellow-tipped tails.
Bramblings arrive in the UK from mid-September until March and April. In winter you might come across a brambling by beech woodland and farmland fields near woods, they are similar in size and shape to a chaffinch. They are known to be gregarious in winter and may form flocks of thousands, often joining in with chaffinches and other finches.
This plant is more commonly looked for in spring but can be spotted frequently on cliffs in winter in North Devon. This is because the coastal areas will be slightly warmed through winter by the sea, and as Alexanders are more sensitive to frosts, they thrive in the warmer conditions.
A British native and a pleasant sight with its glossy, buttercup yellow flowers, Lesser celandine’s appear above the ground in late February and die down in late April. They are widespread in woodlands, hedgerows and streams.
Few flowers look so vibrant and strong during the coldest months but the Winter Iris exceeds. Its lavender-blue colour and jewel-like flowers defy the elements and flourish during the depths of winter.