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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A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

The River Torridge lies at the heart of this fine Culm grassland reserve. A patchwork of tradition meadows, plus woodland make for a wild slice of North Devon. 


A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

A patchwork of woodland and Culm grassland fields linked by traditional Devon hedge banks. 


A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

A Culm grassland, rich in nationally rare plant and insect species. 

A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

Thirteen fields of wildflower-rich Culm grassland make up this smallholding which has remained unchanged for decades.

About the reserve

Meshaw Moor is what many parts of mid and north Devon would have once looked, smelt, felt and sounded like.

It's patchwork of small irregular shaped fields are bounded by hedges. The fields themselves are classic Culm and flower-rich hay meadows. So rich is Meshaw's crop of summer flowers we often harvest its seed and use it to restore grasslands elsewhere. 

A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

One of the best remaining areas of Culm grassland in Devon. 


A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

Exceptional grasslands with areas of 'smooth Culm'. 

The rolling ridges and plateaux of the Culm extend across north-west Devon and north-east Cornwall, reaching from the foot of Dartmoor in the southwest and the edge of the Cornish Killas in the west, to the spectacular Atlantic coast of cliffs and sandy beaches in the north. North-eastwards they meet the Exmoor landscape and stand high above the Devon Redlands. The open, often treeless, ridges are separated by an intricate pattern of small valleys forming the catchments of the Rivers Taw, Torridge and Mole. This is largely a remote and sparsely populated landscape.

This distinctive type of damp pasture is generally found on commons, as a component of lowland fen, or in undeveloped corners of otherwise intensively farmed landscapes.

What is it? This moist, often tussocky (long and thick) grassland is found on flat or gently sloping land on peaty mineral soils in areas with higher rainfall (i.e. the west of the country), or on wetter peatlands in East Anglia. A variety of flowers such as meadow buttercup, devil’s-bit scabious, meadow thistle, ragged-Robin, water mint and self-heal are found with purple moor-grass and sharp-flowered rush. Where the soil is particularly low in nutrients, the vegetation becomes more heathy, with cross-leaved heath and tormentil. Scrub is common and the pasture is often bordered by hedgerows. 

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