On the side of a Dartmoor valley, Ausewell Wood is 342 acres of wild, rugged wood and heath with dramatic rocky outcrops, boulders and screes, dense woodland and damp temperate rainforest along the famous River Dart.
About Ausewell Wood
When it came on the market, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, as at nearby Fingle Woods, joined forces to buy, protect and enhance this precious habitat, together with the wildlife found here.
Ausewell is a valuable wildlife site, a Site of Specific Scientific Interest, a lost world where key species such as redstarts, lesser spotted woodpeckers, pied flycatcher and the elusive hazel dormouse have taken refuge from human activity. The site is also rich in history with two cairns listed as Scheduled Monuments, important stone circles, old mine workings including a copper mine near the river and on old hematite ore mine representing the site of the earliest blast furnace in the UK.
The National Trust were able to secure the purchase from generous gifts in Wills whilst the Woodland Trust were fortunate to have a supportive foundation take on ownership on their behalf for a limited period. The Woodland Trust needed to raise £1 million to take over ownership ansd launched a fundraising appeal to achieve this. The charities together continue to fundraise to ensure the long-term survival of the endangered plants and animals found here.
This special wood is home to a number of unusual animals that thrive in its rainforest conditions. Barbastelle bats and pied flycatchers hunt flying insects here, and the moisture is perfect for molluscs like the ash-black slug – the largest slug species in the world! The huge nests of southern red woods ants can also be found.
You can explore Ausewell Woods from the main entrance and car park just north of Ausewell Cross. There is another pedestrian entrance about 500m to the south of this entrance. These are the only public entrances to the wood. There is no access to the wood from the public highway at Waterturn.
There is one car park just north of Ausewell Cross with space for six cars. This car park has a height barrier at the entrance.