Nature – Things to do

Holsworthy and surroundings areas in Ruby Country has a wealth of Nature to be discovered. From rare lichens to culm grasslands, birds, reptiles and mammals all of which share this wonderful landscape.

Listed below are just some of the various sites. Click on the web links for more details. Please note that the postcodes given are the closest to the sites.

All the sites listed are shown on the following map.

dunsdon natue

Dunsdon Farm National Nature Reserve  Ex22 7JW  Grid ref: SS 302 080

The place to see Culm grassland wildflowers and butterflies
A precious landscape holds on in North West Devon


Cookworthy Moor Plantation EX21 5UU  Grid ref: SS 415 015

An eye-catching conifer forest that offers walks, cycling tracks and bridleways. Take a break at one of the lovely picnic sites and enjoy watching the birds. Visit the Celtic roundhouse onsite.


Vealand Farm. EX22 7JY  Grid ref: SS 288 068

The beautiful marsh fritillary butterfly has flown back into a Devon nature reserve – after an absence of at least 15 years. On one day this summer, 20 were counted at the Devon Wildlife Trust’s Vealand Farm nature reserve near Holsworthy.

And there’s more good news for the internationally vulnerable species because it has also been seen in record numbers at several other trust reserves in Devon.


Statfold Wood, EX21 5DN  Grid ref: SS 390 019

A new native broadleaf woodland, wet in places but really peaceful and rich in plant life. The area is abundant in wildlife. There are deer and many bird of prey species present locally. The site offers views of surrounding farmland and woods. At the northern end there is parking space for one car and access is via a stile. At the southern end there is parking for two cars and access is through a kissing gate. Within the property access is along wide grassy rides which are mainly level. 


Halwill Junction Nature Reserve  EX21 5XY  Grid ref: SS 443 003

Look out for green woodpecker, tits and warblers in the scrub and willow. The wet areas have frogs and the broad-bodied chaser and golden-ringed dragonflies. Some interesting butterflies can also be seen at Halwill, such as the Wood White which has returned again after many years. You may even be lucky enough to see an adder basking in the sun.

Taken from the Devon Wildlife Trust



Holsworthy Wood  EX21 5DN  Grid ref: SS 358 015

Holsworthy Woods – a great place to explore, walk the kids and/or dogs, watch nature or have a picnic. Free parking too! This Forestry Commission site is south of Holsworthy on the A388 towards Launceston. It is not particularly well marked when driving southbound, but look for the sign on the right of the road and take the entrance on the left!


Meresfelle Nature Reserve  EX39 5QZ  Grid ref: SS 310 190

Meresfelle nature reserve is wild and beautiful. One of the best remaining areas of Culm grassland in Devon


Witherdon Wood  EX21 5TU  Grid ref: SX 430 961

Great woods to walk or ride around. Several tracks to choose from and a ciruit to walk around. Ideal for dog walkers and horse riders. Defo recomend to anyone who asks.

volehouse moor

Volehouse Moor Nature Reserve  EX22 7XH  Grid ref: SS 347 165

Volehouse Moor is one of Devon’s finest Culm grassland reserves containing a tremendous mixture of grassland, woods and a stretch of the river Torridge. The whole area is managed by a mix of cattle grazing, swaling and scrub control.

Wildlife highlights: Buzzards, tree pipits, blackcaps, garden warblers, woodpeckers and kingfishers are all present. A wide variety of dragonflies and butterflies are present, including marsh fritillary, holly blue, purple hairstreak & clouded yellow.

leworthy plantation

Leworthy Plantation EX22 6QE  Grid ref:  SS 330 009

Have you visited this wood? It’s not one of Woodland Trust’s, but by uploading your photos and comments you will be helping to create one of the largest online directories of woods in the UK – inspiring others to discover and enjoy woodland.

martyns wood

Martyns Wood EX22 6JU  Grid: SS 336 030

This small wood is one of only a few that are close to the town and has some important habitats. It is popular with local people and has a circular walk inside the boundary although this can get boggy in wet weather.

veilstone moor

Veilstone Moor Nature Reserve, EX38 8LZ  Grid ref: SS 410 152

Veilstone Moor is a fine example of Culm grassland and the extensive network of linked grassland and woodland make for an interesting visit. The site has examples of most types of Culm habitat, from areas of dry heath to quaking mires and flowing water filled ditches. There are examples of drier, mixed deciduous woodland and scrub on the northern and southern ends of the reserve

cookbury moor

Cookbury Moor Plantation  EX22 7YJ  Grid ref; 396 061

10-15 min walk from Cookbury village. Parking for 3 or 4 cars. Very dry stone track, level for 500 yards, then slopes down.Some view from start of track along path. Dry – suitable for wheelchairs buggys possibly. Track goes down to fork left, fork ends in 2 very small mud paths going into the woods. Right fork goes to river. Not circular walks. Wild life signs but none seen. Horses by permit only. The dark under the trees can be spooky. Access via Cookbury, is single track roads


Stowford Moor Nature Reserve  EX22 7UL Grid ref:  SS 391 161

This reserve consists of wet grassland with many rare and endangered species. It has a stunning display of heath spotted orchids and you will also see good displays of plumear meadow thistle and Devil’s bit scabious. Roe deer are common and you can see various species of bats hunting during summer evenings

claw moor

Claw Moor Plantation EX21 5DN  Grid ref: SS 397 027

Have you visited this wood? It’s not one of Woodland Trust’s, but by uploading your photos and comments you will be helping to create one of the largest online directories of woods in the UK – inspiring others to discover and enjoy woodland.

mambury moor

Mambury Moor Nature Reserve  EX22 7XR  Grid ref: SS 385 171

The site comprises five fields, two of which have undergone limited agricultural improvement in the past. The fields are quire exceptional and include areas of ‘smooth Culm’, where purple moor grass dominates. Wavy St. Jon’s wort, a rarity confined mainly to Culm grassland, is abundant. The SSSI is a stronghold of marbled white butterflies


Cookworthy Forest  EX21 5XH  SS 424 024

An eye-catching conifer forest that offers walks, cycling tracks and bridleways. Take a break at one of the lovely picnic sites and enjoy watching the birds.

stapleton mire

Stapleton Mire Nature Reserve  EX38 8NN  Grid ref: SS 453 138

Stapleton Mire is a Culm grassland and is rich in nationally rare plant and insect species. Some areas are almost dominated by the nationally rare whorled caraway. The woodland here consists of wet flushes of willow and alder with drier areas containing oak and hazel. During the summer, good populations of marbled white, meadow brown, and ringlet butterflies can be seen


Quoditch Moor Plantation  EX21 5UP  Grid ref: SX 400 987
The 32 acre (13 hectare) reserve is divided into six areas starting with meadow at the southernmost edge and changing progressively into broad-leaved woodland to the North (on the right of the above picture). The whole of the area is bound by a ride on the eastern side, which makes access to each area quite easy.


Halsdon Nature Reserve  EX19 8RF  Grid ref:  SS 554 131

A top wildlife spot, with exceptional walks through woodland and alongside a classic Devon river. Otter’s are often seen.

This is many people’s favourite Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve and it’s easy to see why!



Meeth Quarry Nature Reserve  EX20 3ER  Grid ref: 545 079

Bike trails, easy access trails and paths take you through a landscape with an industrial history. Two huge lakes, grassland and woodland dominate this former clay quarry. Butterflies, hares, dragonflies and birds have now replced the quarry workers.

A Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserve experience like no other – Meeth Quarry’s industrial past has produced a fascinating landscape for visiting today.
Until the late 1990s this was a busy quarry producing clay for export. Today it’s a tranquil wildlife haven with great access for visitors. However the signs of its history remain.


Northcombe Plantation EX20 4LL  Grid ref: SX 469 960

Have you visited this wood? It’s not one of Woodland Trust’s, but by uploading your photos and comments you will be helping to create one of the largest online directories of woods in the UK – inspiring others to discover and enjoy woodland.

ash moor

Ash Moor Nature Reserve,  EX20 3QD  Grid ref: SS 530 089

Summer orchids, dragonflies and rare butterflies are the highlights of this fascinating patchwork of ponds and meadows.

A troubled past has given way to today’s beauty.

In 2002, at the height of the terrible foot and mouth crisis, Ash Moor was chosen to be a vast burial site for infected cattle. Plans were made and the landscape was hollowed out in preparation.

Fortunately, the burial site was never used. Today Devon Wildlife Trust cares for what has been transformed into a wonderful network of meadows, ponds and wetlands. This is now a top spot for wildlife.

dunsland bramble wood

Bramble Wood & Dunsland  Ex22 7YQ   Grid ref: SS 403 045

South West of Bramble Wood lies an earthwork indentified as a fishpond. It is a flat area, 38m x 14m enclosed by a bank 7m wide and 1m high. It was originally fed by a leat to the south west corner. It was previously thought to be a moat or the site of a medieval manor house but it is now considered to be a fishpond, probably associated with the Tudor house of Dunsland. It is entirely planted with conifers.

roadford nature reserve

Roadford Lake Nature Reserve  EX21 5BG  Grid ref:  SX 434 934

The Roadford Lake LNR at the northern end of the reservoir is 34 hectares of freshwater, swamp, marshy grassland, dense scrub willow carr, broadleaved woodland and coniferous plantations.
The LNR was designated in 2006 by West Devon Borough Council and includes Southweek Wood which has good conservation value and a wealth of features of interest. Valuable mudflats are exposed and the original stream bed which feeds the lake can be seen as water is drawn down during the summer months.

http://www.roadfordlake nature


North Devon Biosphere

Reaching to the heights of Dartmoor and Exmoor and via the sea to Lundy, North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve is one of 669 Reserves in 120 countries designated by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme and was the first of 6 to be designated in the UK. All exist to inspire a positive future by connecting people and nature.



Ruby Country Partnership is pleased to be supporting these businesses and would like to support more. If you are interested in working with Ruby Country Partnership to develop and promote your business please contact us at Holsworthy Information Centre on 01409 254185 or email us at


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