Summer orchids, dragonflies and rare butterflies are the highlights of this fascinating patchwork of ponds and meadows.

A troubled past has given way to today's beauty.

In 2002, at the height of the terrible foot and mouth crisis, Ash Moor was chosen to be a vast burial site for infected cattle. Plans were made and the landscape was hollowed out in preparation.


Transformed for nature

Fortunately, the burial site was never used. Today Devon Wildlife Trust cares for what has been transformed into a wonderful network of meadows, ponds and wetlands. This is now a top spot for wildlife.


Broad-bodied dragonfly sitting on a twig


Summer gets the place buzzing

Summer brings out butterflies across Ash Moor including a colony of the rare wood white butterfly. Dragonflies, damselflies, swallows and sand martins also buzz across the nature reserve's ponds. Look out for the occasional visit of hobbies. These little falcons chase down their prey over the water.


In winter, the going gets wet underfoot. This attracts long-billed birds including snipe and woodcock who probe the mud looking for juicy worms to feed on.


Ash Moor is easy to visit by bike and on foot. It lays on the Tarka Trail cycle path, while our own Meeth Quarry nature reserve is next door. Together Ash Moor and Meeth make a great day out!

Species and habitats

Grassland, Woodland
Devil's-bit Scabious, Woodcock

Nearby nature reserves

Meeth Quarry
1 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
3 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Stapleton Mire
6 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

2 miles north of Hatherleigh. Sits alongside Tarka Trail cycle/pedestrian route. Easy to combine visit with neighbouring Meeth Quarry nature reserve where there are picnic places and toilets.
Map reference
SS 530 089
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Nov - Feb
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
40.00 hectares
The terrain is wet and challenging in places, visitors are advised to wear wellies or boots. Pushchair and wheelchair users are unlikely to be able to pass the boardwalk at present.
Walking information
A walk around this reserve will take about half an hour
Dogs under effective control
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Devon Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01392 279244


Factsheets and guides for your visit