Hembury Woods is a good example of western oak woodland with a wet alder wood in the valley and areas of heathy grassland around Hembury Castle, a prehistoric hill fort. The River Dart runs through the wood and the whole of the Dart Valley is a biodiversity hot-spot. Most of the woodland is Pendunculate Oak with Silver Birch, Holly and Hazel in the understorey.
Flowers include Bluebells, Primroses, Ramsons (Wild Garlic), Wild Daffodil and Wood Anemone, many of which are indicators of ancient woodland. Royal Ferns can be seen in patches, mainly on the river banks. A diverse flora of lichens occurs on the trunks and branches of the trees. The heathy areas have Gorse and Bell Heather, Tormentil, Carline Thistle and Wild Thyme.
The variety of habitats support a rich invertebrate fauna – particularly butterflies. Access around the site is good and car parking is provided at SX729680.
Visiting Hembury Woods – Take the Buckfastleigh turning off the A38. Go past Buckfast Abbey, almost immediately take the next turn on the right, signposted Buckfast. Go through Buckfast village and take right fork signposted Hembury Woods. After bridge, ascend the hill and park on left hand side of the road where it levels off at top or turn in and park at the picnic area.
If you are interested in a longer walk press here – this is a Dartmoor National Park Authority Walk.