Our Regular Guides

Chris and David are both all round naturalists and are most regularly out in the field.
Chris’s specialisms are birds and beavers and Dave’s are beavers, photography and natural history education. However, we use a number of other local guides who specialise in different areas of East Devon’s wildlife, so if you have a particular species group you are interested in please email us and we can organise something for you.

Chris Townend:
Chris is the lead guide for Devon Beaver & Wildlife Tours and director of our parent company Wise Birding Holidays Ltd

Chris lives in Budleigh Salterton with his partner Helen where he is most often to be found on his local patch, the Otter Estuary studying the Beaver population or adding to the growing bird list of the area.

Chris has travelled throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia and his favourite continent, Africa, all following his birding interest, as well as wildlife and conservation. He was employed by the RSPB for 7 years and based at the RSPB’s HQ at Sandy for most of that time, in species protection. Here he was part of a team working to combat bird of prey persecution, illegal trade in birds and egg collecting. He then moved to Devon and worked on cirl buntings for 3 years including a year spent managing the cirl bunting re-introduction project. 

Now, Chris works full time as a guide as well as taking time to develop new itineraries. He has led  wildlife watching holidays for over 20 years. He is a people person keen to share knowledge and ensure that tours are full of wildlife, humour and good quality cakes and puddings! 

David White:
David grew up in the countryside on the southern escarpment of the Cotswolds. This is where he gained his life long interest in wildlife, among the limestone & clay.

In 2009, David retired to East Devon where the nearby coast and red sandstone cliffs, Pebblebed Heathland and the River Otter are all on his doorstep. These were all totally different ecosystems to which he was familiar, but now they form David’s local patch where he has a great understanding of the wildlife that lives in this area, particularly the beavers which are now thriving.

David spends many hours on the River Otter searching for signs of both Otters and Beavers with make him an invaluable part of the team. He also enjoys taking photos of the wildlife he sees on a daily basis and he loves to share these with people. This has led to his village community shop producing a local wildlife calendar aimed at raising awareness & knowledge among local schoolchildren of the variety of wildlife that can be found in East Devon. David also won the BBC Countryfile Calendar competition in 2019 with a fabulous photo of a family of Polecats taken near his home.