Seaton Marshes Local Nature Reserve

Reserve Name     Seaton Marshes Local Nature Reserve


Managing Authority:     East Devon District Council

Address:  Hillymead, Seaton, East Devon

Phone Number: 01395 516551


Website: Seaton Marshes

Google Map 

Map Reference: SY 247906


Access (Transport)

Parking & Toilet Provision
There are two possible parking areas:
a) In the public car park close to Seaton Tramway Station. The cost there is 60p per hour, and
b) close to the entrance to the reserve at the bottom of Salt Pan Lane, where there is limited space, but it is free. You can drive down Hillymead, off Colyford Road in Seaton, next to the Football Club. Carry on down Salt Pan Lane, to the sewage works. There are toilets by Seaton Tramway, including disabled. The reserve is open at all times

Mobility Scooter

Seaton Wetlands at Colyford Road, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2DQ have a tramper for hire. Bookings: 01395 517557 or E-mail

Description of Habitat & Facilities

This reserve is owned and managed by East Devon District Council, and the Reserve Officer is Fraser Rush, Tel. 01395 516551.  There are a number of volunteer wardens.

The East side of the River Axe

Between Axmouth village and Axmouth Harbour, there are good views across the river.  There is a good footway on the East side of the road, and several places on the river bank both for parking and for wheelchair access.  Near Axmouth there is an area with seats, giving good views of the estuary Northwards.  This stretch of road is worth a visit, as birds hidden under the bank when looking from the hide may be seen.

The Farm Gate

Going North from Axmouth, there is a Farm Gate with hard standing overlooking Colyford Common (SY 247918). The reed beds are visible from here, as well as the river.

Axmouth Harbour

From the bridge at Axmouth Harbour there is a track leading along the North side of the harbour (follow the signposts to the café and chandlery and Sea Life centre) which is suitable for wheelchairs. From the end of this track there are good sea views, but probably best with a telescope.


From the Tramway Carpark, there is a level cycle track with tarmac surface running North to Salt Pan Lane, (about 750m, wide enough for easy passing) and beyond to Merchants Lane. The entrance to the reserve is by the sewage works at Salt Pan Lane, and there is a firm level path suitable for wheelchairs from there to the Hide (about 450m, with one passing place about half way). There is a ramp to the hide, a bit steep, but OK for most wheelchair users.

The cycle track continues North for about 250m, and affords good views of the North West Corner of the reserve. The main part of the reserve has 5 scrapes, wet in winter, but mainly drying out in summer, and the hide looks out over the estuary.

All paths are clear of overhanging branches, and all gates open both ways and are self closing. It is good at all times of year, but probably best in winter, between tides.


The hide is octagonal, with good views in all directions, and the windows allow good viewing even in bad weather! There is space and suitable shelving in one corner for a wheelchair, and bench seats (without backs) all round.


Target Species
Birds include Curlew, Whimbrel, Godwit, Redshank and other waders, Wigeon, Mallard and Shoveler, as well as many hedgerow birds. In fact over 160 species were recorded between 2001 and 2003.

Nearby Sites

Bovey Heathfield Nature Reserve SX824765 – heathland site. This has recently had some path improvements so parts of the reserve are now passable for wheelchairs. Some paths are steep and most are pebbly. Parking is along a bumpy track or along the roadside. The nearest facilities are in Bovey Tracey.

Dunsdon Nature Reserve SS295078 – A culm grassland reserves with a 400m+ boardwalk to a viewing platform looking over a culm field. Plenty of parking on the reserve. The nearest public facilities would be in the towns of Holsworthy or Bude. There is a good garden centre (Brooks Nursery) on the road to Bude with cafe and disabled facilities.

Dunsford Nature Reserve SX798875 – woodland and riverside path. With good pushers or strong arms you can go from one end to the other (about 2 miles). If it is wet some parts may be a little muddy but should still be passable. The entrance at the Clifford Bridge end has excellent access for wheelchairs but parking is on the roadside and is limited to about 4 cars. It would be OK for a minibus. The Srawberry Hill Tea Rooms, Dunsford have disabled toilets. It is worth calling before you go to check they are open.

Halsdon Nature Reserve SS555125 – woodland and river. From the southern entrance there is a 900m track that leads down to the river. After that the reserve becomes steep and the paths rough. Parking is limited to about 4 cars but you could squeeze a few more in by the road – it is a quiet road. It would be OK for a minibus. The nearest facilities would be in Dolton Village. There are several pubs and a shop in the village but you would need to check to see exactly what facilities they have available.

Otter Estuary SY075824 – mudflats and salt marsh.

There is an excellent path along the west side of the Otter, with 2 viewing platforms. The path follow the river for about 800m to White Bridge. Budleigh Salterton\’s Lime Kiln car park is a large pay and display car park right at the entrance to the reserve. Here there is picnic tables and barbecues with a play area for children. The nearest public facilities are a couple of hundred metres along the promenade in the direction of the town centre. A radar key is needed.

Warleigh Point Nature Reserve SX447610 – woodland and estuary. This has had a new track installed and should be ideal for wheelchair users. However the access track to reach the reserve is not owned by DWT and can be muddy when wet. Parking is on the roadside of the dead end road (very quiet) although there is not much space for many cars. To reach the reserve you have to pass through the village of Tamerton Foliot, there are several pubs there that may have disabled facilities. It is about 2 miles from the reserve.

*Soon to be added to the list are Halwill Junction and Bystock Pools once some essential access work has been done.

DWT is in the continual process of improving access on reserves and making adjustments whenever possible. If you visit DWT reserves I would appreciate feedback both on what works well, comments or tips for their improvements and nearby facilities you find that might be useful to other users. This would be extremely useful as DWT intends to publish a guide to accessible nature reserves in the foreseeable future. Please send comments to: Jo Pullin – Reserves Interpretation Officer, Shirehampton House, 35-37 St David\\\’s Hill, Exeter, EX4 4DA e-mail:


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