RINGMORE & KINGSTON

Coastal bird­ing, with farm­land and wood­land

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding -

MANY RE­GARD THE South Hams as the jewel in Devon’s crown. The South West Coast Path here of­fers ex­cel­lent bird­ing and passes wildlife-rich Scob­bis­combe Farm, an area known for Cirl Buntings. The farm­land is man­aged for wildlife, with a stream that runs to the sea near West­combe Beach and fresh­wa­ter ponds that are home to drag­on­flies. Sky Larks (right) sing from above as walk­ers plod up the steep as­cents. If the cir­cu­lar route is fol­lowed the in­land stretch passes tracts of pleas­ing, broad-leaved wood­land where we en­joyed the ex­u­ber­ance of a Song Thrush and en­coun­tered the mys­te­ri­ous ru­ins of Nod­don Mill. This was con­sol­i­dated by the Na­tional Trust in 2002 to pre­vent fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. In 1841, the Big­bury Cen­sus shows that James Tay­lor was miller here with his wife, Joanna, and three chil­dren: Cather­ine, Ed­ward and Jemima. A com­mer­cial di­rec­tory of 1870 lists James Tay­lor as a miller and bas­ket maker at Nod­don Mill, which is per­haps an eas­ier trade for an older man. The ru­ins stand tes­ta­ment to lives long-van­ished, where wildlife now flour­ishes and makes the place vi­brant again. SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE.

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