Seaton Wetlands is made up of four main sites - Seaton Marshes, Black Hole Marsh, Colyford Common and Stafford Marsh. There is also a new 'Lookout'.

The signposted trails at the Wetlands make them ideal for a peaceful stroll in the fresh air; you can also have fun pond dipping, or enjoying a picnic with family and friends as well as getting to see your wonderful local wildlife up close from the five hides.

See a map and more information for visitors on the digital version of the Seaton Wetlands leaflet.

Seaton Marshes

Is a freshwater grazing marsh, with scrapes, ditches and ponds that attract considerable wildlife interest, from wildfowl and wading birds in the winter to dragonflies and butterflies in the summer.

Seaton Marshes also contains the beautiful Borrow Pit pond, where otters have been spotted! The site is managed by the Countryside team on behalf of Axe Vale and District Conservation Society.  

Black Hole Marsh 

Was bought in 2008 by the District Council and following planning approval, the Countryside team created a saline lagoon on what was previously a drained agricultural field, with little wildlife interest.

Islands were created on a large shallow scrape and The Environment Agency worked with a local engineering company to devise an innovative self regulating tidal exchange gate, allowing water of just the right salinity to enter the lagoon.

Within the first year, it attracted breeding Oystercatchers and is now well populated with the crustaceans and molluscs that support a wide range of wildfowl and waders. Birds to be seen regularly include Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover.

Colyford Common

Is regularly flooded by high tides, so this salt marsh has very unusual flora and fauna, supporting many locally rare and nationally important species. Little Egrets fish in the creeks and lagoons on the estuary and large black and white Shelduck can be seen grazing here. Wheatears flit across the common, and there is evidence of water vole in the reedbed close to the village.

The Colyford Common bird hide offers fantastic views across the upper reaches of the estuary and surrounding saltmarsh. There is also a viewing platform further north which gives great views of waders such as curlew in winter.

Stafford Marsh

Here you will find the Discovery Hut, pond shelter, a picnic area, Reed Base, toilet facilities and a wildlife garden.

The Discovery Hut is staffed by Information Wardens most weekends(and Mondays from April - September). Here you can find out more about the Wetlands, hire pond dipping equipment and have a cup of tea or coffee. Contact the Countryside team to check opening hours for your visit.

The Reed Base is a classroom which is available for hire for team away-days, birthday parties and workshops.

The Look-out

Is a new information hub on the main path as you enter the wetlands from the car park. This is often manned by a Countryside member of staff during the week. It is currently under development and will become a key source of information for your visit.

Disabled Access to Seaton Wetlands

A tramper (off-road mobility scooter) is available for hire when trained staff are on duty.

We also have a number of volunteers who have been trained to guide visitors with a visual impairment around the Wetlands.

Contact the Countryside team to find out more and arrange your visit.

Events at Seaton Wetlands

There is a lively Countryside events programme, many of these take place at the Seaton Wetlands.

The Axe Estuary Ringing Group demonstrate bird ringing from the Discovery Hut - a great chance for the public to see wild birds up close. Check the Axe Estuary Ringing Group website for upcoming events and any cancellations due to weather conditions.

Volunteering at Seaton Wetlands

Take a look at our volunteering page to find out more about volunteering for the Countryside team.

Location

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Map legend

Reserve boundaries
Reserve boundaries
Public Bridleway
Public Bridleway
Byway
Byway
Public Footpath
Public Footpath
Permissive Footpath
Permissive Footpath
 Nature Reserve Car Parks
Nature Reserve Car Parks
Information
Information
Bird Hides
Bird Hides
Entrances
Entrances

Seaton Wetlands is 6 miles west of Lyme Regis and 8 miles east of Sidmouth, between Colyford and Seaton. In the middle of Colyford village on the A3052 take the Seaton road, signposted Axe Vale Static Caravan Park. To visit the northern part of the nature reserve, including Black Hole Marsh and Colyford Common, turn left after half a mile into the Seaton cemetery entrance, and continue through the car park to the Wetlands parking area. To visit the southern part of the nature reserve (Seaton Marshes) continue past Seaton cemetery and take the left turn immediately after Seaton Football club into Hillymead. Either pass the Axe Vale Static Caravan Park entrance on your left and park in the spaces opposite the water treatment plant, or park on Hillymead itself. There is no path between Seaton Marshes and the northern part of the nature reserve; to travel between the two you will need to use the Seaton - Colyford Road (via car or foot).

Directions

Get directions to Seaton Wetlands nature reserve with Google Maps.

Parking

Free car parking is available through Seaton Cemetery. Park here to access Black Hole Marsh, Colyford Common and Stafford Marsh.

A smaller parking area is available through Hillymead at the entrance to Seaton Marshes.

Best time to visit

You will see different birds during your visit depending on the time of year – check the white board at the Discovery Hut and Lookout to see what other visitors have already spotted.

Opening times

All East Devon District Council nature reserves are open free of charge to the public at all times.

Facilities

Free parking, toilets (including disabled toilet and baby changing facilities), picnic area, 5 hides, 3 pond dipping platforms, Discovery hut, pond dipping equipment for hire and refreshments available at weekends, classroom available for hire, Education ranger services.

Access

  • Tramper  (off-road mobility scooter) for hire
  • The Discovery Hut Hide and Islands Hide are wheelchair accessible.
  • Wheelchair accessible toilet

Walking information

Wheelchair and buggy friendly paths. Cycling welcome on most of site.

Dogs

No dogs (except assistance dogs).