Hembury Woods

A misty spring morning at Hembury Woods, Devon

On the fringe of Dartmoor

There's a network of paths through this woodland with an abundance of birdlife to see:

Down by the river

The sight and sounds of the riffles of the River Dart can be enjoyed . Along the riverbank there are old mine adits and workings - evidence of silver,lead and copper mining that once occurred. Dippers and grey wagtails are regularly seen on the waters edge and you may be lucky enough to see a flash of blue as a kingfisher flies by.

Grey wagtail with distinctive yellow rump
Grey wagtail with distinctive yellow rump
Grey wagtail with distinctive yellow rump

Hembury Hill Fort at the top of the woods

Hembury Castle was built in two phases; an Iron Age hillfort, followed by the construction of a Norman motte (mound) and bailey (enclosure) castle. The name 'Hembury' means 'high castle' and is an apt description of this great earthwork. This more open woodland edge habitat is great for seeing garden warblers, blackcaps and there's always the chance of seeing and hearing a lesser spotted woodpecker.

Listen out for blackcaps
A blackcap
Listen out for blackcaps

Deep in the woodland

Or, for a more strenuous walk, there are various paths linking the two which make some good circuits. Going deeper into the woodland, you're more likely to encounter species such as pied fly catchers and hear the elusive wood warbler singing in the top of the canopy.

Wood warbler
Wood warbler
Wood warbler