Stand on the end of Berry Head and it difficult to decide which way to look.
To the North you can see all of Torbay, including the Ferris Wheel and big hotels of Torquay. If the weather is right there are sailing boats with colourful spinnakers playing in the bay.
Southwards, a series of jagged headlands continue as far as you can see with hardly a sign of human civilisation. This section of the famous South West Coastal path, from Brixham to Dartmouth and beyond into the South Hams, is one of the wildest and most dramatic of the entire journey.
Or perhaps you decide to cast your eyes downwards, past the rare wildflowers of this unusual limestone peninsula, to see fulmars, gannets and other sea birds soaring far below the cliff on which you stand. Porpoises are regular visitors at low tide. When talking about birdlife it is impossible not to mention the funny little guillemots who have chosen these cliffs as their biggest nesting site on the south coast. You must visit in June to find out why their colony is called a ‘loonery’, or their chicks are called ‘jumplings’.
The limestone promentary of Berry Head is one of the only limestone grassland habitats in the UK and as such is an important wildlife conservation site. Many small flowers found here are exceptionally rare. The tough limestone has survived erosion, sea level changes and even quarrying to create the natural paradise you find yourself in right now.
If you were to face inland and look up, (but not very far up) you will find yourself face to face with the UK’s highest but shortest lighthouse, still a vital part of the coastguard’s network today. Further ahead you see artillery rooms, the foundations of barracks, a guardhouse and the fortress wall. This military complex was built to protect a gun battery right where you are standing at the turn of the 19th century, to keep Napoleon out of Torbay. It was used for defensive purpose right up until the Cold War. Today, rather than fighting off foreigners we are now delighted to welcome them (even the Cornish!) into the Guardhouse Café.
Sustainability and the Environment
A few hours on Berry Head reminds us all why it is important to protect the beautiful parts of the world! Please help us to keep Berry Head beautiful for generations to come.