Southcott Wood, Near Barnstaple, Devon

Location: Stoke Rivers, near Barnstaple, Devon
Area: 11.5 acres
Price: £59,000 Sold, subject to contract

 

Southcott Wood is situated in a very quiet valley close to the market town of Barnstaple.  The site is a mix of mature ancient woodland and old meadows, now reverting back to woodland.  Sloping ground gives rise to some fine views, while a new track system has recently been installed in the wood, providing good access throughout.

Directions

From North Devon Link Road
•     At the first roundabout approaching Barnstaple from the east, turn right on the A39, signed Barnstaple and Lynton.
•    Continue through two small roundabout towards the town centre.  At third roundabout turn right, signed town centre, Ilfracombe and Lynton.
•    Turn right again at next roundabout, signed Braunton, Ilfracombe and Lynton (still A39).
•    Take the right hand lane and turn right at the next set of traffic lights, signed Goodleigh and Bratton Fleming
•    Follow this road for three miles, along the Yeo river valley, until you come to a right hand turn, by Chelfham School and a large railway viaduct.  Turn right here.
•    The woodland entrance is 600 metres on the right, next to a small yard and just before a steep hill.
•    The gate is currently padlocked; please contact Stephen Lees at Wildlife Woodlands to arrange access.
•    A small a stone timber stacking and parking area is 50 yards on the right.  Park here and walk along the main track, bearing right after four hundred yards.  The track descends to a bridge, with further parking and timber loading area on the other side.
•    Southcott Wood lies to the left and above the new track.  You can walk around the wood by following this track.  Turn left at the junction and follow this track around the wood up to the higher levels.  A turning circle is near the end, before the track continues into Eastacott Wood.
•    The northern boundary with Eastacott Wood is an old Devon hedge, farmland lies to the west, while the southern boundary follows a small gully and stream, also marked by an old sheep fence.  The parking and timber stacking area at the bridge is shared with Eastacott Wood.

Nearest railway station: Barnstaple 5 miles

Map of Woodland

Southcott Wood map

Location Map

Description

Southcott Wood is a mix of mature ancient woodland and younger secondary woodland, the latter probably developing since the Second World War.

The areas of ancient woodland have a mixture of timber species, with oak, ash, beech and sycamore most common, with wild cherry, alder and silver birch also present.  Hazel is the predominant shrub, with some more open areas on the higher slopes being dominated by bracken, but giving widespread views from the top track.  There is considerable dead timber within both woods, partly a result of very little management in previous years.  This does provide a good habitat, but perhaps the wood would benefit from some clearing to encourage more natural regeneration and further increase the woodland diversity.

A new track has been installed around the woods, including a new bridge providing vehicle access.  A large stone parking bay and timber storage area has been formed on the west bank of the stream, and this is shared with Eastacott Wood.

A small herd of red deer regularly pass through the wood, which has been managed as a sanctuary against hunting by the League Against Cruel Sports, and foxes and badgers are also resident.  Woodcock are regular winter visitors and ravens often fly overhead.

A local firewood contractor is working on the site, clearing trees cut for the new tracks, and the intention is for this work to continue and extend into a thinning programme for the wood.  However, this can be at the discretion of a new owner, who may wish to retain some or all of the firewood for their own use.

Hakeford Wood and meadows, on the western side of the stream is being used to run Forest School activities for local schoolchildren.  If signs are in place on your visit please respect them, and ensure any dogs are on a lead until you pass into Eastacott Wood.

Download Full Details

Title

Freehold, registered land.  Sporting rights are held by the League Against Cruel Sports.  Any deer or squirrel management arrangements have to be agreed in advance with the League.

The Local Area

The nearest town is Barnstaple, a busy market town with a range of facilities.
Also within easy reach are the popular beach resorts of Woolacombe and Morthoe, with Ilfacombe a little further away.  Woolacombe has recently been voted the best beach in Britain, and one of Europe’s top five!  Chelfham Woods are close to the eastern parts of Exmoor National Park, with the National Trust’s Arlington Court a popular destination.

 

Chelfham Station

Chelfham Railway Station

Woolacombe

Woolacombe  © copy­right Ron Strutt

Arlington

Arlington Court © copy­right Peter Kazmierczak

Links

http://www.staynorthdevon.co.uk/site.htm
http://www.barnstaplepanniermarket.co.uk/  
http://www.woolacombetourism.co.uk/  
http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court/
http://www.lynton-rail.co.uk/page/chelfham-station

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