Devon Birds entered an agreement with the local landowner in 1996 to build a wheelchair accessible hide on the South side of Beesands Ley (also known as Widdicombe Ley). This provides excellent views across the whole 12ha lake and fringing reeds, scrub and trees.
Beesands lies a couple miles from the main Kingsbridge/Dartmouth road, the A379. From the roundabout in Stokenham follow the signs to Beesands; on reaching the coast, take the first left in front of the houses and park in the area at the end. Take the footpath along the South side of the ley to the bird hide. The path and the bird hide are wheelchair accessible.
Viewing the Birds from the Devon Birds Hide
Nearby Slapton Ley is well known to birdwatchers and as a consequence can be busy. Beesands is much less visited and can be just as good for observing winter wildfowl and marsh species as well as seawatching.
The best vantage point for the observing the birds is the bird hide but it is also well worth walking along the path on the East side of the ley.
The area is sheltered from all but easterly winds and in calm conditions divers and grebes are frequently seen offshore.
Coot are abundant in the Ley and a few Great Crested Grebe are usually present too. Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall and Shoveler are also present in significant numbers and Bittern have been seen.
Cetti’s warblers are present throughout the year in vegetation around the ley. Spring sees the arrival of Reed and Sedge Warblers with some staying on to breed.
Offshore, Great Northern Divers, Eider and Common Scoter are seen regularly in winter with the occasional Slavonian Grebe and less frequently, Black-necked and Red-necked Grebes. Little and Mediterranean Gulls are found from time to time amongst the large flocks of gulls that frequent the area.