The Exe Estuary is home to a large variety of wildlife, making it a very special and biodiverse place. It is one of the most highly designated sites in the South West and is protected for its globally important wildlife and habitats. The vast mudflats are home to an abundance of invertebrate species and these are the reason why so many wading birds flock to the estuary during winter as these invertebrates are a vital food source.

We welcome you to visit the Exe Estuary and please consider your impact on the wildlife you are hoping to observe. Birds are especially sensitive to disturbance and repeated disturbance can threaten their survival.


  • Two birds feeding in wet sand

    Wildlife on the Exe

    What to look out for when visiting

  • A river flowing through marshland

    Wildlife designations

    The Exe Estuary is one of the most highly designated sites in the South West

    Photo courtesy of Jane Lavick

  • Grassy area at the edge of the beach

    Wildlife habitats

    The Exe is largely made up of 5 different types of habitats; Mudflats, Eel Grass, Mussel Beds, Saltmarsh and Reedbeds.

  • Exmouth Local Nature Reserve

    Nature conservation sites

    There are several areas of the Estuary that are especially important for Nature Conservation

    Photo courtesy of Chris Woodruff