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Hope Cove




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We have provided some information here that we hope you will find useful and included links to websites that can better inform you in a range of specialist areas:
. geology
. plants and flowers
. wildlife




There is lots of geological interest in the Hope Cove area.
Devon was once part of mainland Europe and its rocks date back nearly 400 million years, which are the oldest in the region.

Flowers can be found along the coastal footpath from April to October.
In addition, the woods on the walk up to Bolt Tail are home to several species of flowers.

This section gives many examples of the wildlife that can be found in Hope Cove, on land, in the sea and in the air.


Devon geology



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Devon County Council have produced some excellent authoritative documents on the geology of the county including Hope Cove.

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Hope Cove sits on the line between the lower Devonian schists and the Devonian slates.

Lower Devonian schists

Devonian slates
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South Hams flowers


Most of the flowers can be found on the coastal paths. Some are more difficult to see as they prefer the cliffs and other can be found in the woods as you walk up towards Bolt Tail.

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This website gives a comprehensive guide to plants found in the South Hams area, some of which can be found in Hope Cove.


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Bird's foot trefoil

Dame's rocket

Common toadflax

Sea Thrift

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Tree Mallow

Greater Periwinkle

Sea Campion

Red Campion

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Common Gorse

Common Yarrow

Common Cat's Ear


South Hams wildlife


Under construction

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Herring Gull



Black Redstart

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Stock Dove


At sea

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Alaska Pollock

Atlantic Mackerel

Ballan Wrasse

European Seabass

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Dab fish

Smoothhound fish

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Sting Ray fish

Grey Seals

Grey seals are regularly seen in Hope Cove, particularly in Inner Hope. Very occasionally they can be seen on the rocks underneath Bolt Tail, but often they are in the sea at high tide close to the beach.
Male Grey seals can weigh up to 300kg, and females 200kg. They are opportunistic eaters and the numbers have increased in recent years with an estimated UK population of about 130,000.
Seals can live for 35 years for females and 25 years for males. Seal pups can sometimes been seen, they are weaned for 17 - 20 weeks - gaining up to 10kg a day - then learn to feed themselves over the next few days|/weeks.
  • If you are in a boat please avoid going near to the seals. If your boat is motorised please slow down and give the seals a wide berth.

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Rock pools


The rock pools of Mouthwell Beach (Outer Hope) at low tide can be alive with sea creatures.

Please be careful when rock-pooling. Avoid displacing limpets from the rocks.
If you place shannys, shrimps, craps etc in a bucket be sure to return them into the rock pools.

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Starfish originate in the Atlantic and can occasionally be found in the rock pools. Ones found tend to be small but can grow to 20cm plus.

Blenneys (shannys) can be found under under rocks in the pools and sometimes sunning themselves on seaweed. They are small and can be hard to find as they can adapt their colour to match their surroundings.

Hermit crabs are most common and have distinctive shells, in which they hide to protect themselves.
Cancrid crabs occasionally wash up in the rock pools. These are edible and can be up to 30cm in size.

The dark red beadlet anemones are often found in the rock pools, attached to rocks. Its tentacles sting and catch its prey, like shrimps and small fish.

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Common around the costs of Britain, the translucent shrimp are typically found in the dark shaded areas of the rock pools are they are nocturnal creatures.

Seahorses get stranded by the tide, and those to be found in the rock pools tend to be small and live amongst the seaweed, so can difficult to find.

Barnacles are commonly found attached to the rocks (or the bottom of boats!). The most common od the species is the grey white acorn barnacle.

Cockles are very common around the coasts of Britain. Its distinction yellow-brown clam like shell makes it easy to spot. Often just buried beneath the sand.

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Periwinkles or sea snails are common in rock pools around the country. The shells are similar to land snails and are typically greyish brown in colour.

These cone like shells are matched firmly to the rocks at low tide. Their tongues are the world's strongest biological structure - so they can remove the algae from the rocks.

Made with love in Devon