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.



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'.


A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

An ancient woodland to explore, with added panorama of the North Devon landscape.

About the reserve

There's much to see both within and looking out from the reserve. Take a path under mature oaks, ashes and hazel coppice to discover glades of spring woodland flowers, while the level hilltop location, just a few miles south of Barnstaple, gives wide views of the surrounding countryside.


A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve

A small (3 hectare) oasis which buzzes with activity. This reserve is important for its range of wetland habitats. The great pond-sedge and reed that covers much of the reserve is a rare habitat across the west county. Dragonflies and butterflies are extremely abundant here. The reserve is mainly flat but is rough and sometimes wet under foot. Please contact the Trust for disabled access information.


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