Wonwell Sands

01/01/2016 - 15:59



Wonwell Sands is a rugged estuarine beach on the mouth of the Erme Estuary, within the South Devon AONB.


A sinuous side-stream making its journey towards the sea as clouds from Storm Frank scud overhead




A very pleasant place to walk along at low tide, a vast expanse of sand with patterns and grooves cut by the currents of the retreated waters. This visit was a blustery one, curtains of sand periodically gliding across the beach, fanned by the gusts from Storm Frank. The unspoilt nature of the beach, the invigorating energy of the rain-free early storm winds, the low hum of the churning sea... such are the charms of a winter walk along the coast around here.





The estuary is technically a 'ria' - a drowned river valley as sea levels rose. Around 3,500 years ago Wonwell beach was forested with Scots pine - the remains of some of the ancient tree stumps are still visible in the sand.




Looking upstream, in the early twilight




The rocks here are primarliy Devonian Slates, with periodic marbled bands within the strata, giving a hint to the metamorphic pressures impacted on the rocks during the Variscan Oregeny. These tectonic collisions led to the formation of a 3km high mountain range above where Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor now lay.







Otters, Sea Trout, Atlantic Salmon, Egrets, Curlew, Oystercatchers and Shelduck are regular visitors to the estuary and Kingfishers have been seen above Holberton.




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