Size:

40.50 ha (100.08 acres)

Grid reference:

SX732490

Map reference:

Explorer 20

OS Landranger 202

A diverse mix of steep, valley-sided ancient woodland and areas of new woodland planted between 2000 and 2004, Avon Valley Woods is very special to us because the older woodlands that make up the site were the Woodland Trust’s first acquisitions. Covering over 139 hectares in total, Avon Valley Woods is brimming with wildlife, stunning wild flowers and a wide variety of tree species.

Features

  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Spring flowers
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Avon Valley Woods

Avon Valley Woods, which is spread across 139.4 hectares (344.5 acres), is a collection of sites around the village of Woodleigh, near Kingsbridge in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

It is formed by a group of four areas of woodland: Avon Wood (made up of Woodleigh Wood, Bedlime Wood and Titcombe Wood), Aveton Wood, Centry Wood and Watkins Wood.

From the A379 from Modbury or the A381 from Totnes, take the B3196 and then the turning to Loddiswell. Around 1.6km (1 mile) along this road, take the turning to Woodleigh on the right, which goes past Loddiswell Station (now a private home). Alternatively, the B3196 runs into Loddiswell from the A38 to the north.

From Loddiswell, follow signs for Woodleigh. The road below Loddiswell Station is broad and there is parking for a limited number of vehicles.

The nearest train station is Totnes, 16km (10 miles) north of Watkins Wood.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stops are in Loddiswell and The Mount, 3.2km (2 miles) from the wood.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

There are several public footpaths in the woods, including routes alongside the River Avon and through the wilder parts of the woods. Access to the woods is mostly via the car parks.

There are information boards in each car park showing footpaths that link all the woods and a circular way-marked trail from the car park on the west side of the Woodleigh to Hendham Road that leads through Watkins Wood into Woodleigh Wood, down to the river Avon and back again.

Aveton Wood

Aveton Wood, in the north of the site, can be accessed from Coombe Lane above Topsham Bridge. There is a network of forest tracks, several of which are up steep slopes.

You can also possible to access Titcombe and Woodleigh Woods from Aveton Wood. The route is steep and the paths are rough. It is also necessary to cross the river via an old railway bridge as part of this route, which is outside Woodland Trust ownership.

Bedlime Wood

Also in the north of the site, Bedlime Wood has steep and undulating grounds. Unfortunately there is no public access. Coombe Lane runs alongside the wood for a short distance.

Woodleigh Wood and Titcombe Wood

Woodleigh Wood and Titcombe Wood can be accessed along a narrow public footpath which runs alongside the disused Loddiswell Station in the south, or from Topsham Bridge in the north, via a public footpath. This crosses private land before running the 1.6km (1 mile) length of both Woodleigh and Titcombe Woods.

Springs, which flow over the path, are crossed by boardwalks, but there may be seasonal flooding in places. The path is also uneven and can be rocky. An old railway line (not owned by us) is used as a permissive path, running throughout the valley and often parallel to the public footpath.

Watkins Wood and Centry Wood

Access to Watkins Wood and Centry Wood is through the car park or the gate off the lane running north from Woodleigh village. Paths and rides crossing the site are uneven and steep in places.

There is one public bridleway on the site, crossing the northern section of Watkins Wood. This route follows a sunken farm lane with an uneven, sometimes rocky surface. There are other permissive bridleways around the boundaries but wet ground can make access difficult.

At Aveton Wood: Access into the wood is a very sharp right-hand turn with parking 250 metres down the hard surfaced track.

At Watkins Wood and Centry Wood: there are two car parks off the Woodleigh to Hendham road (the road heading north out of Woodleigh village.

There are public toilets at the parish council car park in the centre of Loddiswell village, but these are occasionally locked.

There are also public toilets in Kingsbridge, 4.8km (3 miles) south of the woodland.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Avon Valley Woods is great for wildlife lovers. Look out for birdlife - over 30 species have been recorded here – as well as many species of butterfly and mammal, such as otter and the elusive dormouse.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

You’ll find trees and plants throughout the year among the mix of habitats, from fragrant honeysuckle and dazzling woodland wild flowers to its rich canopy of broadleaf trees.

Look out for:

Habitats

Ancient semi-natural woodland clings to the steep-sided valley of the River Avon, opening up into areas of newer planting and grassy clearings that offer stunning views over the rolling Devon countryside.

Explore:

About Avon Valley Woods

History

Avon Valley Woods holds a special place in our hearts. The first of many, this was our first ever acquisition.

Founder of the Woodland Trust, Kenneth Watkins OBE, purchased Bedlime Wood on behalf of the Trust on 24 October 1972. It was bought because of fears it would be felled and converted to conifer plantation, in line with the government policies at the time.

In August 1973, the Trust purchased Dartshill Copse (adjoining and now treated as a part of Bedlime Wood), Titcombe Wood and Woodleigh Wood. They were followed by Aveton Wood, on the opposite bank of the river Avon, in 1999.

Disease discovery

Aveton Wood contained a small remnant of ancient semi-natural woodland which escaped felling in the 1960s and 1970s due to its inaccessibility. However, most of the wood had been felled and re-planted with Douglas fir, Japanese larch, European larch and poplar.

In 2013, Phytophthora ramorum was discovered in the larch. To stop the spread of disease, the trust clear-felled the larch, and replaced it with native broadleaf trees in 2014.

Dedication bench at Watkins Wood

Dedicate at this wood

This wood is one of more than 50 across the UK where it's possible to dedicate trees, benches or larger areas of woodland. Mark a special occasion or celebrate the life of a loved one with a meaningful gesture that lasts. 

Choose a dedication

Things to do at Avon Valley Woods

Horse riding

There is one public and several permissive bridleways in Avon Valley Woods.

Please keep to bridleways when riding, to ensure the woodland floor is not damaged.

Early purple orchids

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean
Avon Valley Woods - Management plan

Download

Avon Valley Woods Management Plan

PDF  (162 KB)