Hembury Woods Walk
Located on the foothills of Dartmoor this hidden away walk through ancient woodland and alongside the fabulous river Dart is one for every walker from adventurous to casual.
Parking – Free
Nearest Town – Buckfastleigh
Owned by – National Trust
Dogs Allowed – Yes
A Brief History of Hembury Woods
Hembury woods has a far-reaching history owing to its iron age hill fort and surrounding 11th century motte and baily. The woods themselves have a mysterious feel to them with numerous ways and strays (paths) through the trees. These paths are thought to be routes possibly used for trading and evidence of this can be seen through items found in the surrounding area including an ancient Greek drachma. The fort is classed as a scheduled monument and protected by law, with the woodland being classified a place of scientific interest.
Exploring Hembury Woods
The great thing about this whole woodland is that you are bound to find something new every time you visit. If you feel like a river walk then I would recommend parking in the lowest car park, where there is space in amongst the trees and even some picnic benches if you wish to have a bite to eat. The National Trust takes care of Hembury Woods and you often see felled trees lying on the ground, this can be a sad sight but is extremely necessary as natural light needs to hit the ground to promote healthy growth.
The walk down to the river is not a difficult one and is great for all the family, the paths alongside the river look like somewhere in the south of France with lots of ferns and sand, especially in the summer. If you keep walking along the river you can notice some old abandoned mines possibly copper as there are a fair few disused copper mines in the area.
If you want to walk up to the fort from the river it is steep and might not be suitable for everybody. If this is the case I would recommend driving further up the road past the lower car park until you get to the top of the hill and it starts to level out. Along this road on the right is a small area to park and at this location you can visit the hill fort without any effort at all as it is fairly flat. You can still get down to the river from here however it is a much longer walk than if you parked in the lower car park, this is why you should visit more than once to allow yourself to experience everything that Hembury Woods has to offer.
During the summer months this whole area is flooded with wild flowers, foxgloves all kinds of insects and birds, a great place for the nature observer. Another great idea for visiting Hembury Woods is to take your dog along, they are welcome in all areas and can run freely with plenty of smells to entertain.
At the top car park, you can take a left when entering through the gate, this will take you downhill, keep following the path and you will come to an open area, a great place for a picnic I must add. This area has lots of different paths, take any of the left ones and you will end up at a gateway into some more woodland.
If your visiting during the springtime this area is one of the best places in Devon to see thousands of bluebells scattering the woodland floor its an amazing sight and well worth a visit during this time.
If you enjoy walking and exploring then Hembury Woods is somewhere you will love to get lost in and even if your not the active sort its also somewhere you can relax and enjoy the wildlife. Consider coming here for a romantic walk or picnic, the peace and tranquillity is perfect for any romantic getaway. What ever way you wish to enjoy this wonderful woodland its certainly somewhere you should consider visiting.