More about Fingle Woods
This amazing site is located on the southern side of the steep Teign Valley on the northern fringes of Dartmoor. Jointly owned by the Woodland Trust and the National Trust in the first venture of its kind between the two organisations, Fingle Woods is undergoing extensive restoration to repair the areas damaged by maturing conifer. Public access has already been improved with 45km of new footpaths which has opened up the area to provide a fantastic woodland landscape to explore.
Located on the northern fringes of Dartmoor, much of Fingle Woods' 825 acres (333.9 ha) is a deep, dark and mostly sad shadow of what it once was. As the conifers have grown, their dense canopy has prevented light reaching the woodland floor, so little else survives.
But within this hushed, shadowy world there are remnant areas of ancient broadleaf woodland where birdsong can still be heard - all the more poignant in contrast with the surrounding silence of the plantations – and where flowers, butterflies and other wildlife bring vibrancy, colour and beauty to these broadleaf enclaves.
The plan is to restore all 525 acres (212.5 ha) of damaged ancient woodland to its former glory by gradually thinning out the conifers to enable light to reach the woodland floor once again. This will encourage the native woodland to regenerate and as the broadleaf habitat increases, the right environments will be created for other woodland species to thrive.
In such places you will see the iridescent blue of kingfisher as they dart along the bank of the river Fingle which gurgles and sparkles on its route through the woods. You may spot otter, birds of prey, fallow and roe deer and hear the calls of willow warbler and marsh tit. In the spring the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebell, wood anemone and ransom, and lichens festoon the trees, adding to the magical feel.
This is one of the largest ancient woodland restoration projects ever undertaken by the two organisations, and the work is well underway as you will see on our Restoring Fingle Woods page.
Tens of thousands of visitors
Bordered by two National Trust properties (Castle Drogo and Steps Bridge), Fingle Woods attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year who until now have been unable to enjoy much of this stunning woodland as many parts have had little or no public access. The partnership has changed this by opening up Fingle Wood, Halls Cleave and Cod Wood (which together make up Fingle Woods) to the public to provide an unrivalled woodland landscape stretching over 10km of the Teign valley, with 45km of new footpaths to explore.
These are exciting times and we hope you will travel with us on the journey as Fingle Woods slowly transforms into the beautiful, resilient, magical woodland it used to be.
The word Fingle is possibly derived from the old English “fang”, meaning ‘to catch’, a reference perhaps to the suitability of the stretch of river for fishing.
Keep up to date with activity at Fingle Woods on our shared blog.
Fingle Woods is located on the side of the steep Teign Valley near Fingle Bridge on the northern fringes of Dartmoor. It is bordered by Castle Drogo and Steps Bridge (both National Trust properties), within the manor of Moretonhampstead. The nearest villages are Crockernwell, just over two miles away, and Moretonhampstead at 5.8 miles away.
Access and walks
The Fingle Bridge Inn (EX6 6PW) provides an excellent starting point from which to explore Fingle Wood. There is ample parking on both sides of Fingle Bridge, including a National Trust car park with free public conveniences. We are currently assessing the footpaths within the woods and exploring opportunities for waymarking some of the extensive path network.
Walking east from the car park at Fingle Bridge along the riverside walk, you meet the road near Clifford Bridge. From here you can continue along the main river into Cod Wood or walk through Halls Cleave (the hidden valley) towards Mardon Down.
The National Trust car park at Fingle Bridge has free public conveniences.
The Fingle Bridge Inn on the north side of the bridge is a pub and restaurant offering traditional homemade food and real ales in a welcoming atmosphere. Or visit tripadvisor for other options.
Accommodation and tourist information
The following sites have a wealth of information on where to stay and/or things to do in the area: tripadvisor, Dartmoor Accommodation or South Devon.
For up-to-date information on public transport, visit traveline or phone 0871 200 2233.
From Exeter take the A30 westbound. At Woodleigh junction follow the signs to Crockernwell from where Fingle Bridge is signposted.
From the A30 west, at Whiddon Down junction, take the exit signposted to Crockernwell and Cheriton Bishop, from where Fingle Bridge is signed.
From Exeter, leave the A30 at the Exeter/Ide junction and head west on the B3212 towards Dunsford where a car park is on the right just beyond Steps Bridge.
From Moretonhampstead head east on the B3212 towards Dunsford, where a car park in on left a few hundred yards before Steps Bridge.
Steps Bridge (SX 802883) car park provides access to the far eastern end of the Fingle complex.
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