Berry Head is a coastal headland at the southern end of Torbay to the southeast of Brixham.
Enjoy the spectacular at Berry Head. Explore the remains of an imposing Coastal Fort, built to keep Napoleons invaders out to sea. Visit Berry Head National Nature Reserve and find yourself standing 60m 200ft) above sea level on the remains of a massive coral reef, formed 400 million years ago. Extensive areas of limestone grassland and scrub support around 500 plants including many rare species.
The South West Coast Path leads south from Berry Head to the Dart Estuary, through coast land managed by the National Trust.
National Nature Reserve
Berry Head to Sharkham Point is a haven for several nationally rare and threatened species which are dependent upon the thin limestone soils, mild climate and exposed conditions of the headland.
The coastal cliffs here are home to a seabird colony, including Guilemots Razorbils and Black-legged Kittiwakes.
The guillemot colony on the cliffs below the Southern Fort is one of the largest on England’s south coast and can be closely watched live on CCTV in the Visitor Centre. Berry Head also acts as an important staging post for migrant birds.
Caves at Berry Head are home to the endangered Greater Horseshoe Bat. A small herd of North Devon Reds which have been reintroduced to Berry Head produce cow pats which in turn provide food for the bats in the form of dung beetles.
The two forts were built on the pre-existing Iron Age Hill fort site overlooking Torbay naval anchorage. Fortifications were erected on the headland in 1793 against threatened invasion by French armies and strengthened with limestone in 1803, when gun batteries were added to protect the anchorages. They were abandoned after two years when the War of Indepence finished, and the armaments were moved to Plymouth, but the ramparts remain.The former artilery house now houses a public display, featuring details about the history of the area, its wildlife and how it became an important stragegic point.
At the end of Berry Head, beyond the coastguard station, is the lighthouse, which forms part of the chain of south coast beacons. It is administered by Trinity House. The lighthouse, which was built in 1906, was converted to unwatched acetylene operation in 1921 and modernised and converted to mains electricity in 1994. The light being visible over 20 miles away, It gives a double flash every 15 secs. It came to be known as the smallest, highest and deepest light in the British Isles – the tower is diminutive, requiring no further elevation than that given by the headland itself, and the optic was originally turned by the action of a weight falling down a 45m deep shaft, now made redundant by a small motor. Semaphore signalling apparatus was on Berry Head before 1875 and acted as the Lloyds’ Signal Station for Torbay.