The crystal clear mornings in Devon are just around the corner and they are the perfect opportunity to explore the ancient woodlands across Devon. So dust off the thermos, grab a woolly hat and head out on that tramp you’ve been putting off.
Breathtakingly peaceful in every season, Holyford Woods is a modest copse which bridges across a goyle towards the eastern edge of East Devon. The short circulars offer a genuine experience of some ancient mixed woodland, considered by to be amongst the oldest in England. If you can time your visit to come for the annual Bluebell Day you’re in for a treat.
Technically falling in West Dorset, this is a dog friendly easy circular route, with an optional jaunt up to the best view on the south coast, the Golden Cap. The woodland here is less ancient, however the cliffs on which it stand are truly prehistoric, with views back along the Jurassic Coast to Charmouth and Lyme Regis. This walk has to be tied in with lunch out in Lyme and an afternoon fossil hunting.
Renowned in Summer for the diversity of butterflies, this mixed woodland offers stunning views out across the Culm and Clyst valleys and down to the nearby Killerton Estate. As Autumn transitions the views out through the edge of the forest are framed by the canopy now exploding with burnt oranges and ambers. There is a high prevalence of ticks here in warmer months so be sure to check yourself and the pooch afterwards.
Child friendly iron age encampment with short routes in and around the site. Let your imaginations run wild.
A more demanding walk, but well worth the trip. Inspiration for many a literary artist, the woods here are anchored in time. This copse is among several ancient woodlands on Dartmoor, where lichens and mosses thrive in high altitude environments. It is thought that these eery, yet humble oaklands may hold crucial answers about the ability of forests and woodlands to survive beyond mass deforestation events. As such, they are designated Special Areas of Conservation so remember to take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints.
So there you have it, five fabulous winter woodland walks, all of them providing a window into the ancient Devon landscape.