Buckland Abbey's estate
There are no end of discoveries to be made while exploring the ancient woodland at Buckland Abbey. The grounds have more than eight centuries of history to uncover and colour-coded walks take in everything the Great North Wood has to offer.
Estate walk closure
Please note that the red and blue estate walks are currently closed for woodland works. The yellow route and play area remain open.
Buckland Abbey's ancient woodland
The woodland here at Buckland has a long and important history. For centuries, the Cistercian monks who lived here were responsible for managing it, and today the Rangers and volunteers follow in their footsteps, working hard to protect and care for the land around the Abbey.
Walking through the woods, you'll spot evidence of historic paths such as Cot Lane, which was the monks' main access route from the Abbey to the river. Features such as the carp pond are lasting reminders of how the estate was once managed, and sheep and cattle grazing the fields echo the estate's agricultural past.
In the woodland you'll see evidence of tree felling, where softwood trees have been cleared to make way for the regeneration of broadleaf varieties and native wildflowers. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of deer, kingfishers or one of the many other species of wildlife that have made their home in this special corner of Dartmoor.
Woodland walks through the estate
These three circular routes take in the best of the Great North Wood and its wildlife.
- Yellow route – 0.75 miles (1.2km)
- This walk has step-free buggy and Tramper-friendly sections, and lasts about 30–45 minutes. However, please note that it's off-road and follows fields and some woodland tracks. The paths aren’t paved so they can get muddy and there are some slopes and gentle hills
- Red route – 2.5 miles (4km) - Currently closed
- Allow at least one hour to complete this picturesque route that takes in the fields and woodland. Walking boots or wellies are recommended as the paths can be uneven and they can get quite muddy, especially after heavy rain.
- Blue route – 2.9 miles (4.7km) - currently closed
- For a longer walk, the blue route takes about 1.5–2 hours, heading through the woodlands and has gorgeous views overlooking the river. Walking boots are essential for this walk.
The Natural Play Area
Newly reopened for summer 2023, the play area at the start of the red walk on Buckland's estate is a fantastic place for children to explore and let off steam.
Complete with stepping stones, balance beams, climbing logs and much more, all of the timber used in creating this fantastic playground has been reclaimed from fallen trees on the estate, and created by our fantastic team of Ranger staff and volunteers.
Making the most of your visit
There are several great picnic spots around the estate. Why not pause on one of the benches and soak up the peace and tranquillity of the place, or visit the Higher Paddock play area before heading into the woods?
Dogs are welcome on all of the estate walks: please take note of signage as short leads are required on some paths due to livestock grazing.
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.
Discover a wealth of history at Buckland Abbey, from its time as a medieval farming monastery to the famous Tudor explorers who called it home.
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.
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.
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Discover how our conservation work at Buckland Abbey has revealed some surprises that have shed light on the lives of the Cistercian monks who once lived here.