A wood with a view
An ancient woodland to explore, with added panorama of the North Devon landscape
Seeing the woods for the trees, and beyond
There's much to see both within and looking out from the reserve. Take a path under mature oaks, ashes and hazel coppice to discover glades of spring woodland flowers, while the level hilltop location, just a few miles south of Barnstaple, gives wide views of the surrounding countryside.
A woodland community in action
Uppacott wood is home to a rich variety of woodland plants, birds, butterflies, lichens and fungi, many of which are indicators of ancient woodland. In spring, woodland flowers such as violets, wood sorrel, betony, sanicle, common twayblade and early purple orchid colour the edges of dappled glades and shady paths, before the leaf canopy closes overhead later in the year.
While these plants are associated with ancient woodland, the mature trees here are no more than 200 years old, giving an insight into past management history. Trees with dead branches are now retained to provide homes for hole nesting birds and the insects on which they feed, as revealed by the drumming of great spotted woodpeckers echoing through the wood.
The woodland was bequeathed to DWT in 1998 by Mr Eustace Ian Scott, who lived at Uppacott Farm. DWT Barnstaple & District Local Group is very actively involved looking after the reserve's wildlife and habitats.
Coppicing, creating glades for flowers and butterflies, hedge steeping (laying), and maintaining path access and signs for visitors, are regularly carried out by the Group, together with wildlife surveys, special nestbox checks, researching the area's history and helping prepare the nature reserve management plan.
Find out more about volunteering at DWT nature reserves.
The Local Group laid out the path network crossing woodbanks and ditches around the site's 11 compartments. Follow the trail for a tour of the reserve's main features: mature oak woodland, hazel coppice, glades, bramble and fern understorey, and wet woodland with alder and ragged robin.
You may encounter some of the many butterfly, 40 bird and 100 plant species recorded here.
Silver-washed fritillary (photo: M Symes)
The route also passes by a special tree: Devon whitebeam. The whitish downy undersides of the leaves give the tree its common name, along with the fact that this extremely rare endemic species exists in only a few places, mostly in north Devon, and nowhere else in the world. A small tree, late May is the time to see its white flowers dotting the understorey, developing into ripe orange-brown fruits at the end of October.
Devon whitebeam (photo: Dr T Rich)
Species and habitats