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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There are two main woods at Eggesford Forest:

Hilltown Wood

By bus (5C Exeter - Chulmleigh) on the A377 between Exeter and Barnstaple. The forest entrance is on the A377, one mile to the east of Eggesford Station - look for the Forest threshold signs.

By train: the Tarka Line runs between Exeter and Barnstaple. The train stops at Eggesford Station. Follow signs to the Eggesford Gardens and Country Centre and take the Public Footpath past All Saints Church and into Hilltown Wood.

Heywood Wood

By bus (5C Exeter - Chulmleigh) or train (Tarka Line: Exeter - Barnstaple) stop at Eggesford Station. From Eggesford Station turn off the main A377 to Wembworthy/Winkleigh, turn right at the next junction and at the top of the hill take another right and follow this narrow road to Heywood - look for the Heywood threshold sign. 

The track between Upcott Wood and James Week Plantation. Photo: Shelley Sherman


Eggesford and Wistlandpound Forest Plan

The Eggesford and Wislandpound Forest Plan area is made up of numerous separate forest blocks totalling 527 hectares in Devon. As forest blocks set within the intimate wooded valley landscape they have very high natural and landscape diversity and value.

The forests managed as part of the nation's forests stretch from Wistlandpound in the north, 6 miles from Barnstaple, through Shortridge, Dodscott, Bithefin and Winkleigh close to the village of the same name to Eggesford in the south which is 8 miles north of Crediton.

The public forest here is a predominantly conifer on ancient woodland, having been planted to address the national timber shortage of the early Twentieth Century. The Plan area saw the establishment of the Forestry Commission on December 8th, 1919 when the first trees were planted in Flashdown Wood, part of the old Eggesford Estate. The area is now known to produce high quality Douglas fir which makes up the majority of the trees here supplemented primarily with spruce and larch. Areas of remnant ancient semi-natural woodland do remain and are made up of oak and birch with beech. Most of the areas are actively managed to provide timber for local and national businesses, and to improve the quality of the remaining tree crop.

The Plan area contains one Scheduled Monument within Heywood which is a motte and bailey castle situated in a commanding location overlooking the valley of the River Taw. This site is free of tree cover and a popular site of interest.

The Plan area is a rich for ecology and includes NVC W10 Priority Lowland Mixed Deciduous (oak/birch) Woodland which is habitat in part for dormice, raptor and otter as well as NVC W8 Priority Lowland Mixed Deciduous (ash) Woodland in wetter areas which is also important for habitat and water regulation.

The vast majority of the Plan area is Open Access, confirmed by the Countryside Rights of Way Act. The exception being Wistlandpound and Winkleigh which are de facto Open Access due to it being leased from another landowner. The Eggesford and Wistlandpound woodlands are the main focus of informal recreational activity and both are particularly nice places to picnic, walk, run or ride thanks to the river and reservoir side settings, good path network and very large trees. 

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