There’s no doubt about it, Devon is blooming gorgeous in the spring! This is the ideal time of year to enjoy the picturesque countryside of the county known as the English Riviera.

Nestling on the south-west coast, Devon is made up of a series of beautiful harbour towns, including the popular holiday resorts of Paignton, Torquay and Brixham.

It is home to the South West Coast Path, a walkers’ paradise, taking in the fascinating rock formations of the southern Jurassic Coast and the tall cliffs of the northern Exmoor coast. The beauty of Devon in the spring is enhanced by its selection of blooming flowers that begin to wake up after the cold winter.

Bluebell field

© susie peek / Adobe Stock

Devon has a variety of locations, such as hidden valleys, gardens, coastal walks and woodlands, where a colourful blanket of flowers and greenery make walking and sight-seeing a delight.

Wander through wildflowers on the many walking trails and marvel at the explosion of colour that graces our countryside at this time of year. Read on to find out what’s in store when you visit Devon in the springtime…


Best blooms

The cheerful yellow primrose is a common sight in Devon, with its distinctive orange centre. It can be seen in patches in woodlands, adding a dash of colour between January and May. The best place to see primroses is at Hilly Mouth, near Lee, where they are in abundance.

The wood sorrel’s delicate white flowers are also a familiar sight in woodlands and in hedgerows when they bloom in April and May. They are particularly plentiful in the woodlands near Watersmeet.

Any spring visit to Devon wouldn’t be complete without a walk through a bluebell wood. A blanket of bright blue is most prevalent in April and May. Walk the Peppercombe to Bucks Mills coastal path, or stroll through Beckland Wood and Barton Wood to see the most beautiful bluebells.

The distinctive violet-blue flowers of the spring squill are a rarer sight in England. It flourishes in wild and windy habitats, so Devon is lucky to have the brightly-coloured blooms on the coastal cliffs in the north, particularly at Baggy Point, near Croyde. It is also cultivated by gardeners for floristry displays, as a result of the intricate beauty of its delicate flowers.


Must-see places

Visiting the legendary Garden House at Yelverton is a must for flower fans. March is an ideal time to see the Acer Glade, where a sea of crocuses will be in bloom. Early spring flowers, such as daffodils, snowdrops, irises, cyclamen, dwarf magnolia and fawn lilies will be blooming in the bulb meadow until mid-April. As the season progresses, rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolia will make a welcome appearance.

If you love daffodils, take a trip to Dunsford Reserve at Dunsford for one of the best daffodil displays in the UK. The 140-acre nature reserve boasts beautiful riverside glades. Nestling on the edge of Dartmoor, next to the River Teign, it is also home to the rare fritillary butterfly. Sadly, the species has been in decline in Britain for 30 years, as a result of its habitat’s destruction, but it is thriving in Dunsford.

If you wish to take your four-legged friend on a nature walk, Marwood Hill Gardens in Marwood is a 20-acre dog-friendly site, hidden in a secluded valley near Barnstaple. There are three lakes and plenty of magnolia, which are stunning in early spring. Walk across a carpet of narcissi and enjoy the wisteria and camellia, which grow in abundance.

In the Heathercombe valley at Manaton, there are 30 acres of woodlands and gardens to explore. Located in the Dartmoor National Park, it boasts spring daffodils, bluebells and rhododendrons. Enjoy woodland walks, a wildflower meadow and fern gardens. The site is part of the National Garden Scheme.

Visit the 18th century stately home, Killerton, in Broadclyst. An 18th century National Trust property that comes to life in spring, Killerton is a family home and estate which is surrounded by glorious landscape gardens and parklands. Enjoy seasonal flowers such as bluebells in the Ashclyst Forest -one of east Devon’s largest woods. See a blanket of daffodils on The Plains and lesser celandine in Front Park.



If you’re lucky, you’ll also see some of Devon’s fascinating wildlife this spring. Sunbathing lizards are a familiar sight at Chudleigh Knighton Heath and Bovey Heathfield nature reserves, near Bovey Tracey.

Migrant birds, such as chiff-chaffs and reed warblers, will be making their first appearance of the year at nature reserves such as South Efford Marsh near Plymouth, Old Sludge Beds near Exeter and Swanpool Marsh near Braunton.

Discover a myriad of beautiful moths in the picturesque Dart Valley, while the magnificent Jurassic Coast cliffs are alive with hoverflies and bees, as they begin to fly around collecting nectar.

The reed beds of the River Otter are home to roosting starlings, breeding waders and waterfowl, including ducks with fluffy chicks, in spring. You will also see swallows darting under the bridge, blackbirds building nests and blue-tits perched on the branches above.

As a result of a project to “re-wild” the area, managed by Devon Wildlife Trust, the Otter is a haven for wildlife such as salmon, native brown trout, kingfishers and beavers.

If you’re looking for a fun and healthy activity this spring, organise a day out to Devon – and bring a picnic with you to enjoy while you marvel at the scenery!

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