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The Community Forest Project at Buckland Abbey

A verdant and inviting pathway through a wood
Cots lane in spring at Buckland Abbey in Devon | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

This year we are delighted to be working in partnership with Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest, and with grant funding from Defra’s Trees for Climate fund we’ll create, restore and connect around 50 hectares (ha) of new priority habitat – that’s about the same area as 63 football fields. This will include a combination of lowland mixed deciduous woodland, traditional orchard, wood pasture and parkland and hedgerows.

‘Bigger, better and more joined up’ is our mantra, and since 2015, Buckland Abbey has been working to meet the aims of the National Trust’s Land, Outdoors and Nature strategy; creating and restoring priority habitats, ensuring nature recovery and improving biodiversity, carbon sequestration and natural flood management.

We have explored our historic environment and natural heritage aiming to restore some historical features to the landscape, such as an orchard thought to be one of the first of its kind in Devon.

We’ll be planting over 30,000 trees including 365 fruit and nut trees to bring a medieval landscape to life.

What’s being planted?

A variety of broadleaved trees such as sessile oak, elm, blackthorn, birch, rowan and wild cherry will be planted in the woodland areas, whilst heritage fruit trees along with hazel and cobnuts will feature in the orchards.

However, it’s not all about trees. You may have heard the shocking statistic that 97% of Britain’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930’s. In partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust, we have created a green hay donor site to assist with the regeneration of lowland meadows, which we’ll combine with wood meadow to increase habitat connectivity.

What are the other benefits of this project?

Aside from the positive climate impact of introducing more trees and plants, the project will have several other valuable outcomes, including:

  • Habitat creation – from lichens to small mammals, insects and birds.
  • Foraging opportunities, thanks to the interspersal of fruiting trees with broadleaved varieties.
  • Connectivity – ‘hedgerow highways’ are vital for creatures such as bats, 11 species of which can be found living at Buckland.
  • Slowing the flow of water across the estate reduces the risk of flooding and soil erosion.
  • Creation of shade for wildlife, livestock and humans.
  • Opportunities for people to connect with nature through improved access, community events and volunteer roles.

How can I get involved?

Later in the year, look out for days where visitors will have the opportunity to come along and join the Ranger team in planting some of the trees. These will be advertised on the events page and social media. We have also created new volunteer roles to support the project on Tuesdays and the first Saturday of each month – for further information, take a look at the web page here or call us on 01822 853607.

We can all play our part to help to create new habitats and take climate action. Whether it’s a window box or a bird box, a small wildlife pond or bug hotel, why not see where you could make some space for nature around your garden.

The exterior of Abbot's tower at Buckland Abbey in the evening light

Discover more at Buckland Abbey

Find out when Buckland Abbey is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

A view of green fields with a river valley in the distance. Tree branches with spring leaves frame the image.

Buckland Abbey's estate 

Discover Buckland's ancient woodland on one of three colour coded walking routes. With abundant wildlife and far reaching views, it's a peaceful and fascinating place to enjoy a stroll.

Roses in the Elizabethan Garden at Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey's gardens 

From beautiful blooms to bountiful harvests, the gardens at Buckland Abbey are full of colour and seasonal interest. Soak up the history of this special place as you admire the planting, or simply enjoy the peace and tranquillity as you sit a while on one of the benches.

Two large dogs on leads held by two people on a path at Lanhydrock, Cornwall, with grass and fallen autumn leaves beyond

Visiting Buckland Abbey with your dog 

Buckland Abbey is a one pawprint rated place. There are plenty of dog-friendly walks through the woodland and countryside to explore and dogs are welcome to relax in the Ox Yard Café.

A panoramic view of Buckland Abbey seen from the north. The Great Barn stands out prominently to the left.

Visiting Buckland Abbey and Great Barn 

Explore the abbey which is part museum, part house, and filled with treasures. Step inside the medieval Great Barn: a tithe barn unchanged since it was built centuries ago.

Two visitors sit on a bench in the garden at Wordsworth House to read their books. It's a sunny day in early summer and the couple are surrounded by green foliage

Commemorative giving at Buckland Abbey 

Whether you would like to make a gift in celebration of a special event, in memory of a loved one or just because, why not consider donating towards a project here at Buckland Abbey?