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The nature-friendly future project at Wembury

Walking the coast in autumn at Wembury, South Devon
Walking the coast in autumn at Wembury | © National Trust Images/Trevor Ray Hart

The National Trust cares for nearly 6km of coast at Wembury including beaches, farmland and woods. In 2021, we embarked on a project to restore the natural environment at Wembury. From creating different habitats for wildlife to improving accessibility for visitors, learn about the project so far and our plans for a nature-friendly future at Wembury.

September 2023

Latest update

Summer and autumn Wembury newsletter

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A nature-friendly future at Wembury

Working with others to help protect the future.

About the project

This project is about restoring a healthy, beautiful natural environment and is at the heart of the National Trust’s strategy for the future, which means land rich in nature for people to enjoy.

Why Wembury?

At Wembury Point, after the Ministry of Defence left, the National Trust opted for a nature-friendly approach to managing the land. Wembury today has an incredibly rich landscape, with important wildflowers and wildlife ranging from butterflies and bees to the rare cirl bunting and Dartford warblers. We would like to celebrate more nature success stories across all of Wembury.

How are we going to do it?

We hope by creating and improving different habitats, we will see a wider variety of insects, birds and small mammals. New habitats will be created through planting more trees, growing wildflower meadows and creating wetlands areas.

To see our current and future land use maps, click here.

Woodland creation

Over the next three years, the National Trust will be planting over 90,000 trees to create a community woodland at Wembury Barton Farm. This will form part of the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest, a partnership between the National Trust, the Woodland Trust, Plymouth City Council and South Hams District Council, and is part of the wider Defra-funded Community Forest scheme.

In the future, we can look forward to a woodland that is rich in blossom, nectar and wildlife with tree species such as sessile oak complementing the existing ancient woodland. In addition to creating nature-rich habitats, Community Forests are about bringing people closer to nature and helping to improve both mental and physical well-being. At Wembury, new footpaths and a multi-user path will be created through this new woodland that will link to existing paths.

There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved, whether that’s by planting a tree or learning more about how to look after this nature-rich woodland.

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Woodland creation at Wembury Barton

A visualisation of what the woodland creation at Wembury Barton will look like.

A new approach will mean planting thousands of trees to form new woodlands and wood pasture where cattle can graze under a woodland canopy. Hedgerows will flourish to become homes and corridors for animals connecting isolated habitats. Fields, which were previously a single crop treated with chemicals, will become a riot of colour with species rich grasslands and wildflower meadows.

A quote by Richard SnowNational Trust Countryside Manager

Improving accessibility

We know spending time in nature is good for our wellbeing. Working with local communities, we want to improve the quality and network of circular and linear routes around Wembury, ensuring they are accessible year-round and welcoming for all types of visitors. We are excited about working with others to offer different experiences that connect people to nature.

View our proposed footpaths by clicking here.


Income generated at Wembury Barton Farm, and from our car parks (Wembury Beach and Wembury Point), holiday cottage and farm tenancies will be used to help support our nature-friendly vision for Wembury.

Keep up to date with the latest news

We release a newsletter twice a year which talks about our current work and plans. If you have any questions about our work at Wembury, please email

The latest edition provides a summary of what we have been up to over the past 6 months. To read the summer and autumn 2023 newsletter, please click here.

To read the previous winter 2022/23 newsletter, please click here.

The nature-friendly future project: a timeline

March 2024

Cattle grazing on the South West Coast Path

From March 2024, cattle have started grazing on the coast path. A small number of Highland cattle are grazing the land directly below the farm where the fence was introduced on the cliff edge earlier in the year. By grazing and trampling the scrub, the cattle will help effectively manage the scrub by creating a diverse scrub structure and a range of habitats for reptiles, invertebrates, small mammals and birds.  The team are hoping to train the cattle to use No Fence collars which will hopefully allow the fence to be removed.

Signage will be in place when the cattle are in the compartment, and we ask that walkers follow the guidance provided. 

A highland cow with a long fringe covering its eyes, standing next to a fence.
Highlands grazing | © National Trust Images/ James Dobson

Our partners

Woodland Trust

The UK's largest woodland conservation charity.

Visit website 

Community Forest Trust

The Community Forest Trust is the national champion for community forests in England, aiming to secure more investment for community forestry and ensure a green future for all.

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South Hams District Council

South Hams District Council are one of the partners of the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest.

Visit website 

Plymouth City Council

Plymouth City Council are one of the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest partners.

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Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest

The Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest will stretch across different parts of the city and surrounding countryside. It will be a mix of community woodland, private woodland, on street trees, urban woodland, wooded habitat corridors and hedgerows.

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England's Community Forests

England’s Community Forests work closely with communities, landowners, and businesses across England to plant trees and improve our natural environment.

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South Devon AONB

South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is one of a family of protected landscapes in the UK. With the guidance of a Partnership Committee, the AONB Team work to enhance South Devon’s outstanding beauty.

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South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path look after the UK’s longest and best-loved National Trail.

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View from Wembury Point, near Plymouth, Devon, with the Great Mew Stone in the distance

History of Wembury 

Discover the history of Wembury and the Great Mewstone, from holiday camp and inspiration for the famous Forsyte Saga, to major naval gunnery school.

Visitors at Wembury Beach, Devon

Things to do at Wembury 

From water sports on the beach to rock-pooling with the family, discover the adventures to be had when you visit Wembury and the surrounding areas.

A brown cow looks out at the viewer, standing in a field of yellow grass in high summer

Nature and climate 

Reducing carbon emissions, planting trees and protecting wildlife habitats: just some of the things we’re doing to protect nature and the climate.