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Buckland Abbey's estate

Atmospheric woodland image of tree trunks with mist behind them
Woodland at Buckland Abbey in Devon | © National Trust Images/Fi Hailstone

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.
A child stands on wooden balance beams in the play area
Fun for all the family at Buckland's natural play area | © Steven De'Ath

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.

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.

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