Firstly, a huge thank you to Alice for asking me to write a guest post for her blog. I thought that, as she was based in Cambridgeshire in the South East, I would share a little something of what we have over here in delightful Devon in the South West.
I’ve lived in Devon now for 16 years and have never tired of exploring the many facets of the county. We are so privileged to live in such a wonderful region with so much diversity, both in its wildlife and landscapes.
Within the county are two of the UK’s National Parks: Dartmoor (above) and Exmoor. The latter also has Europe’s first Dark Sky Reserve, designed to promote astronomy by keeping light pollution to a minimum and allowing fantastic views of the night sky. Both moors offer varied landscapes, flora and fauna and there is always something exciting to explore. I have too many favourite places to list, but I especially enjoy walking the Lorna Doone Valley and Brendon Common on Exmoor, as well as Wistman’s Wood, which is one of only three remote, high altitude oak woods on Dartmoor.
As well as the Moors, we also have the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere which covers a wide area of Devon from Exmoor to Dartmoor, and the Atlantic Ocean out to Lundy Island. It is one of 651 reserves over 117 countries and was the first of six designated in the UK. All UNESCO sites exist to inspire a positive future by connecting people and nature. In addition to this, we have an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which covers 171 square kilometres of the coastal landscape within the Biosphere. It is a beautiful part of the South West Coast Path.
One of my favourite walks in the Biosphere is along the Taw and Torridge Estuary, and through the RSPB nature reserve. This unique habitat of the estuary is a haven for birds and I love watching them as the tide comes and goes. Here are a few of my favourites from this year:
As well as walking, exploring and photographing, I have also been able to enjoy helping the local wildlife over the past few years. My wife and I started by being able to assist a wonderful lady, by the name of Anni Nicholls, in her work with hedgehogs which are in great decline now in the UK. We rescue, look after and soft release some of the hogs that come into Anni’s care, and it has been a privilege to be a part of their lives and help to see them back into the wild. Here is an adult Hog ready for soft release and later being returned to the wild in our garden:
More recently, we have started to work with North Devon Bat Care and have been learning all about these fascinating little mammals. Devon has the largest diversity of UK bat species with 16 being recorded out of a potential 18.
We have been lucky to meet a number of different species, as well as play a part in their release. This special little chap is a Bechstein, called Brian, who is in the care of a fabulous bat carer in South Devon.
Also, we recently attended our bat care course, where we met this little long-eared bat who is only about 3 days old. He can be identified by his very large ears.
I enjoy combining my interests of photography, nature and wildlife, and taking time looking through a lens has provided a whole different view and perspective on life. If you have the opportunity to visit the South West, then it is well worth the trip (not that I am biased!). With Autumn now upon us I will be back out with the camera to hopefully capture the vibrant colours and, if I’m lucky, the Exmoor Deer Rut. Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you have enjoyed this small insight into my life behind the lens.
Tim Pryor is a photographer based in North Devon, UK. He is self taught & currently holds his Licentiateship with The Royal Photographic Society. He enjoy all aspects of photography and the creativity this brings but has a particular passion for nature and wildlife photography. His wonderful work can be found on his website and he tweets occasionally as @timpryorphoto.