South Devon NCA is predominantly a plateau, dissected by steep valleys and rivers, most rising on the adjoining Dartmoor NCA. Towards the coast the often wooded valleys and rias are remote and hard to access from the land.
The majority of the area consists of mixed farming, with fields flanked by Devon hedgebanks and narrow winding lanes. The south of the area contains many internationally important coastal and estuarine habitats.
These support populations of wintering waders and wildfowl, rare plant communities and also provide significant carbon storage.
Much of the area is a popular visitor destination, with the South West Coast Path National Trail being a major asset. Historic market and coastal towns are strategically located across the area and the 2 major urban settlements are located at either end of the coastal stretch, Plymouth in the west and Torbay in the
The quality and character of the area is recognised by designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), containing all of the South Devon AONB and part of the Tamar Valley AONB. It also includes The South Devon Heritage Coast, Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site and the UNESCO ‘English Riviera Global Geopark’.
Mixed farming remains the main agricultural occupation, although there has been a slight decrease in the numbers of livestock seen in the landscape. High uptake of agri-environment schemes in recent years has led to significant increases to the largest remaining UK populations of the threatened cirl bunting. Fishing, particularly shell fishing in the area’s estuaries, is a significant industry along the coast.
151 South Devon (NE338)