Braunton Burrows - continued

Braunton Burrows is a magical place to visit in early July when the majority of the turf plants are flowering.
Pyramidal Orchid Low carpets of aromatic purple Thyme mingle with pink-flowered Restharrow, the delicate lemon yellow of Mouse-ear Hawkweed, striking blue spikes of Viper's Bugloss and amazing numbers of Pyramidal Orchids (left).


Hard sun-baked lichens, which form an important part of the turf community, crunch underfoot, while mosses are also an important component..The dune slacks host herbs such as Meadowsweet, Bog Pimpernel, Marsh Fritillary and Southern Marsh Orchids, along with bushes of Creeping Willow and Privet.

Poplar Leaf Beetle The Creeping Willow is home to large numbers of brilliant red Poplar Leaf Beetles (left), while the sands of the dunes are alive with ants and a great variety of beetles. On a sunny day, butterflies such as Marbled Whites, Graylings, Ringlets and Skippers abound.    

Braunton Burrows has been expanded as a result of the recommendations of the DEFRA Biosphere reserves review. It now includes a larger section of the estuary of the rivers Taw and Torridge. This biosphere reserve extension/revision was examined in 2002 by the Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves and approved by the UNESCO MAB Bureau on 6-8 November 2002. They have also recommended that the enlarged reserve should have a new name.

It is to be hoped that these consolidations and the review process will result in increased funding for management and interpretation of the area.

Evening Primrose Non-native plants such as Evening Primrose (left) are  widely distributed over much of the dunes, while Michaelmas-daisies are becoming well established in some dune slack areas.

Management may be needed to control these species and prevent them from outcompeting the native plants.

Given the extraordinary variety of native species currently making up the plant community on the Burrow, unchecked invasion by non-native species would be a tragedy, as it would reduce both the plant and animal diversity. Other management issues involved include the need for grazing by sheep and cattle to control scrub development and maintain the short turf communities.

Braunton Image Gallery

Plant species List
(Plants recorded flowering in late June/early July)

Braunton Moth Species list

Primary succession on sand dunes


More on Braunton Burrows from UNESCO


Biosphere Reserve Contents