Taw & Torridge Wildfowling Club

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We are based in Barnstaple, North Devon, and were formed in 1975 by a small group of enthusiasts to protect the sport of wildfowling, as there were plans to turn the entire Taw estuary into a bird reserve. The club is affiliated to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and members benefit from a wide variety of their services.

Shelduck Duck Golden Plover

The Marsh is on either side the Taw Estuary to the confluence with the Torridge at Instow and Appledore and then the 2 rivers seaward. The Club has a Lease from the Crown Estates for approximately 650 hectares of Marsh and tidal foreshore.

Certain areas have been designated by the Club as reserves where no shooting takes place. The Marsh is not a major over wintering place and rates at about 77th in the top 100 in England.


Dangerous High Tides
At high spring tides around the new and full moon each month great care has to be taken because of the 7 metre rise and fall caused by the close proximity of the estuary to the Bristol Channel. Even the salt marsh is covered by up to a meter of water and if this occurs during a period of rough weather with gales, rain and low pressure then a further surge will occur. The high tides came over the top of the sea wall in places in October 06 when these conditions occurred.

Tide tables are essential when visiting the marsh and high tide levels can be reached up to an hour before and after high water.

If the stated level is 8.2 metres or above, do not venture out two hours either side of high water. About 10 years ago a club member was drowned in these conditions. The fact that sand dredging has now ceased on the estuary has probably increased risks.

The main quarry is Canada Geese, Wigeon, Teal and Mallard.

Protected birds such a Little Egrets, Shelduck, Avocets and Spoonbill can be seen at different seasons of the year, some of them in large numbers.
The club has released a few Grey Lag Geese in recent years with instructions to the members that they are not to be shot, and more were released in 2007.

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