7.42 ha (18.33 acres)

Grid reference:


Map reference:

Explorer 139
OS Landranger 180

Coombe Woods sits within Exmoor National Character Area on steep ground just to the South East of the Village of Goodleigh in North Devon just outside Barnstaple.

Today Coombe Woods is the result of a fantastic community project that involved local people who helped develop it. It provides wildlife with a mosaic of habitats – from woodland to scrub and open grassland.


  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Grassland
  • Marshland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Coombe Woods

Coombe Woods lie on steep ground just to the South East of the Village of Goodleigh in North Devon just outside Barnstaple.

A country road running north from the A361 reaches the village of Goodleigh.

The closest train station is in Barnstaple.

Visit National Rail for more information.

Bus services run through Goodleigh From Barnstaple to Lynton and South Molten, the bus stop is within Goodleigh around 150m east of the entrance to the wood.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Coombe Woods is located on the western edge of the village and can be reached via public footpath number six, which leads from Coombe Cross to Coombe Farm and then out onto the Willesleigh Cross to Westacott Road (what3words location: ///spout.headlight.hedgehog). There are other permissive paths around the site. 

Facilities and access

The footpath is level all the way through but can be very wet. Most of the permissive paths are steep due to the nature of the site.

Parking is available in Barnstaple.

The nearest public toilet is in Barnstaple.

Wildlife and habitats

Surrounded by pasture and hedges the wood was established as part of The Woodland Trust's 'Woods on Your Doorstep' campaign to commemorate the Millennium.


Red deer are present here, as are grey squirrels.

Trees, plants and fungi

Explore the mosaic of habitats, keeping an eye out for ash and hazel, and the occasional whitebeam, cherry, rowan and field maple. You will also find hawthorn, gorse, bramble and bracken in the scrub.

Sit awhile in the pockets of grassland which are dotted with black knapweed, violets, common cat's-ear and glaucous sedge. Discover an area of wet fen which includes meadow sweet, agrimony, greater birdsfoot trefoil and water mint. 

Look out for where the land steeply falls away to reveal a small stream lined with alder. You can find large areas of opposite-leaved golden saxifrage here. 

Look out for:


Historically, the site is a combination of mixed native broadleaf woodland planted in 2000, approximately 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) of nationally scarce crested dog's tail–black knapweed grassland, and areas of scrub. Additional native woodland was planted around the most botanically areas and has developed well. 


About Coombe Woods

On the old tithe map of 1840 Coombe Woods is marked as "a mixed woodland, planted woodland, mazzard orchard and cleeve clover". The wood was clear felled in 1971–73 and then grazed by horses that prevented any regeneration. 

The people of Goodleigh had been trying to get Coombe Woods re-planted for years. In 1998, Goodleigh Parish Council approached the Woodland Trust which then acquired the wood through the Woods on your Doorstep millennium project. 

Things to do in Coombe Woods

The old Coombe Woods had been a special place for local people, with some remembering that they, in their courting days, had spent many a day strolling arm in arm with their beloved there. 

Follow their footsteps and stroll along the well-used public footpath that runs through the wood. If you are feeling adventurous, follow the circular path that is known to be steep in places.

When you get to the southernmost point of the site, take in the fine views across the countryside towards Barnstaple.


Coombe Woods Management Plan

PDF  (118 KB)