New public green space in East Devon
The Clyst Valley Regional Park is waiting for you to explore its heritage and nature, and breathe its fresh country air.
The Clyst Valley is a vast green space to breathe, on the doorstep of a rapidly growing population east of Exeter. It follows the meandering River Clyst (meaning ’clear water‘) as it feeds into the Exe estuary.
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An elevated, open landscape with long views to Dartmoor and/or to Exmoor. Within the patchwork of pastoral fields are extensive areas of rough Culm grassland and heathland. These Culm ‘moors’ have a strong sense of remoteness, even wildness, which is accentuated by the relative lack of settlement and the wind-sculpted trees and hedgerows; they give an impression of how large areas of Devon might have looked before agricultural improvements such as drainage, ploughing and fertilizers. The presence in the landscape of numerous clusters of prehistoric barrows adds to this sense of history and changelessness. The strong textures of plantations, beech hedgerows, heathland and grasses contrast with the smooth improved agricultural land which surrounds them. Patches of colour in the landscape change with the seasons – golden, brown and green grasses, purple heather and bright yellow gorse.
This area comprises elevated land between the Taw Valley (to the west) and the Cruwys Morchard Wooded and Farmed Valleys and the Exe Valley (to the east). To the north is a gradual transition into the South Molton Farmland, and to the south a gradual transition to the lower and more intensively-farmed Crediton Rolling Farmlands.
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This is an intricate, complex and varied landscape within a dramatic valley, which contrasts with the surrounding open, elevated farmland. Woodland and slopes combine with bends and spurs in the valley to hide views onward and create constant surprises. Tightly wooded sections unexpectedly open out to display wide vistas across the valley. Around Eggesford, the steep valley sides and mixture of broadleaved and coniferous woodland is evocative of continental Europe. Elsewhere, tranquil parkland gives the valley a soothing atmosphere.
This area comprises the main valley of the River Taw, plus its tributary valleys, including the River Bray, River Mole, Crooked Oak Stream, and Mully Brook. The area forms a rough ‘T’ Shape, surrounded by areas of higher land. The Codden Hill and Wooded Estates and the South Molton Farmland lie to the north, Witheridge and Rackenford Moor to the east and the High Culm Ridges to the west. To the south is the High Taw Farmland.
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Devon Gardens Trust The house built on a new site in 1822 by Thomas Lee, a Barnstaple architect, for Newton Fellowes. It was an early example in the county of an embattled Tudor style for a country house. It was dismantled in 1917. Now an eminently picturesque large ruin standing against the sky, surrounded by the woods of the Taw valley, like the best of follies. Revd John Swete visited in 1796 and wrote that ‘the landscape had nothing in it of the wild, or romantic, it was a sweetly-pleasing picture, touched by the soft, the minute, the elegant pencil of nature. Art did not seem to me to have used much of its interference in the embellishment of this little paradise.’ In 1806 Polwhele wrote that it was ‘built about the year 1718 of brick, much increased and improved by the present possessor who has also laid out the grounds about it with much elegance and taste under the direction of the late Mr Richmond; woods well interspersed, considerable plantations and the river Taw contributing much to enrich and beautify the scene.’
White (1850) noted that ‘Old Eggesford House was the seat of the Lords Chichester in the 17th century, and was rebuilt by W. Fellowes, Esq., in 1718, but was taken down about 26 years ago. The present seat of the Hon. Newton Fellowes is a neat mansion, standing in the adjoining parish of Wembworthy. ’ Stockdale described it as ‘lately taken down’. The sale particulars of 1913 particularly noted the walled kitchen gardens of three acres while that of 1914 noted the mile long drive and that the walks
were noted for the specimen trees. The Parkland survives. Within the former grounds are a nursery and garden.
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Discover the great historic importance of Eggesford Forest today
Eggesford Forest is home to the very first trees planted by the newly created Forestry Commission in 1919 within Flashdown Wood.
Since then, the forest has continued to gather mementos of the past with several commemorative tree avenues, and a granite stone unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1956 to mark the millionth acre of Forestry Commission planting.
Eggesford Forest Eggesford EX18 7LD
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A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve
Lose yourself in a wide open landscape amid one of the rarest habitats in the world. A sense of space and timelessness greets the visitor stepping out on to the largest surviving area of culm grassland in Devon.
Culm grassland is a rare habitat comprising distinctive wetland plants, sustained by acidic clay soils, light grazing, and high rainfall. This combination of environmental conditions with low intensity land management, largely unchanged since prehistoric times, maintains the site's wildlife richness.
Unbroken views, as far as the edges of Dartmoor and Exmoor, reach across a diverse array of wet pastures, heaths, bogs and mires, scrub and fringes of woodland. This may lend an impression of vast ancient emptiness, but in the last century over 90% of culm grassland has been lost.
Much of what remains is to be found fragmented across north Devon. Rackenford and Knowstone moor is of crucial value as the most extensive remnant still in existence today. Devon Wildlife Trust works to protect, re-create and link together isolated culm grassland sites through the Working Wetlands and North Devon Nature Improvement Area projects.
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This Standing Stone has been variously known as the “Knowstone”, the “Beaples” stone or just as a “boundary” stone, a “marker” stone and a “rubbing” stone. It is not a Parish boundary stone, as the Parish boundary runs several hundred metres to the south, but it did lie on the Beaples Barton Estate land and was most likely to have been a “rubbing” or “tether” stone for bulls and horses working on the farms in the area.
As a Standing Stone, it could be seen from Exmoor and was mentioned in a book on Ancient Exmoor by Hazel Eardley Wilmott. There was a myth that, on certain moonlit nights, the stone would turn around and the fairies would dance around it, and if it was removed, then all the fairies would disappear.
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A private nature reserve supported by a sustainable enterprise.
We’re restoring patches of culm grassland on our own land, with the help of Devon Wildlife Trust. Culm grassland is the name for the type of species rich grassland that used to cover this whole area for miles around, providing a habitat for many birds and animals which are now endangered and sequestering carbon by turning vegetation into peat.
Anna and Pete who own Bulworthy Project are now looking further afield and, along with 3 other trustees, they have applied to register a charity, which will be known as Bulworthy Trust. This charity will acquire land to create a nature reserve on. This will be owned and managed by the trust which will be independent of Bulworthy Project.
Bulworthy Project Rackenford EX16 8DL
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The North Devon Biosphere is a place where people and nature come together in our world-class environment of dunes, grassland and moors, towns and villages, and coast and sea. We are proud to be a UNESCO World Biosphere and our mission is to connect people and nature to inspire a positive future today.
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This is a large-scale moorland landscape, sweeping below the high plateaux and summits of the unsettled high moorland. Smooth outlines are punctuated by many tors and jagged rock outcrops, with slopes often strewn with granite boulders and ‘clitter’ (scree). Areas of open moorland grazed by free-roaming livestock are fringed by a strong pattern of newtakes marked by granite walls containing rough grazing land. The landscape contains numerous sites and features of archaeological significance, scattered within a mosaic of heather and grass moorland punctuated by wetland habitats of international importance. Small villages and hamlets occupy sheltered locations, often associated with streams and rivers draining from the moor.
This area comprises the central part of Dartmoor around Two Bridges. To the north and south are gradual transitions to High Dartmoor, whilst in other directions there are more abrupt boundaries (marked by the change from open moorland to enclosed fields) with the Moretonhampstead Moorland Fringes and the East Dartmoor Moorland Fringes (to the east), the Southern Dartmoor and Fringes (to the south-east and south-west) and the Tavistock Dartmoor Fringes and the River Tavy River Valley (to the west).
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