The Teign Valley Estate West surrounds the National Trust property of Castle Drogo. It extends to approximately 306 hectares and contains large tracts of woodland along the steep slopes of the Teign valley, both broad-leaved woodland and conifer plantation. In addition, there is an ancient deer park containing wood-pasture and small scattered wet flush areas, old common land with heathland and rocky crags, and an area of pastoral farmland with small woods and hedgerows. The section of the River Teign flowing through the site is a valuable feature in its own right.
This combination of habitats is of considerable importance for nature conservation and it creates a landscape which forms a dramatic setting to the early 20th Century property of Castle Drogo.
The main features of nature conservation interest are as follows:
– Whiddon Deer Park SSSI – Wood-pasture and parkland. Nationally important concentration of open-grown veteran trees in semi-natural pasture.
– Piddledown & Drewston Commons – Upland heathland. Rare invertebrates of hot dry rocky situations. Important butterfly site, with a colony of Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Rare plants including Nationally rare Toadflax-leaved St John’s Wort and Nationally scarce Pale Dog Violet;
- Whiddon & Hannicombe Woods – Upland Oakwoods on north-facing slopes
- Several Bat species – including the rare Barbastelle associated with veteran trees in Whiddon Deer
- Protected mammal species – such as Dormouse in woodlands and Otter in River Teign.
- Rich bird assemblage in the diverse range of habitats – including Nightjar
- Butterfly populations associated with heathland and dry grassland – including Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
One of the most famous areas is Fingle Bridge – a real attraction for visitors to Dartmoor. There is much myth and legend associated with the area – see here.
You can download a walks leaflet here which shows you an excellent 5 mile walk along the River Teign in the Gorge.