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Chudleigh Knighton Heath

A wonderful heathland haven with some very special wildlife.

Chudleigh Knighton Heath is a heathland mosaic of gorse, heather and grassland. This was once the landscape which stretched for miles across what is known locally as the Bovey Basin. Today, the nature reserve is a reminder of what has been lost and also acts as a vital heathland home to some special wildlife.


Summer nights

From May to July an evening walk on Chudleigh Knighton's becomes a a magical experience thanks to the accompanying sounds of calling nightjars. These African migrant birds come to the reserve to breed and raise their young. By day they use their wonderful camouflage to stay hidden, but at night they take to the air and bring the reserve to life.


The nature reserve's ponds and areas of wet heathland also make this a great place to see dragonflies and damselflies.

Photo: Chris Root


Take the ant trail

In May 2016 Devon Wildlife Trust and Hennock Parish Council opened an 'Ant Trail'. This leads visitors on a circular route through the reserve and back to the nearby village of Chudleigh Knighton. The trail is named after the reserve's most famous local resident: the narrow-headed ant. Chudleigh Knighton is the only place in England in which the ant is still found.

Narrow-headed ant. 

Photo: John Walters 2004


Combine a visit to this nature reserve with one to nearby Little Bradley Ponds. If you like heathland then you'll also enjoy visiting our Bovey Heathfield nature reserve - just 10 minutes away by road. You can visit all three nature reserves by taking our 4.5 mile Bovey Basin Wild Walk.

Species and habitats

Heathland, Standing water
Heather, Nightjar

Nearby nature reserves

Little Bradley Ponds
1 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Teigngrace Meadow
1 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Bovey Heathfield
1 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

1.5 miles east of Bovey Tracey
Bovey Tracey
TQ13 0EY
Map reference
SX 839 769
Best time to visit
Mar - Oct
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
42.00 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Terrain is rough and wet in places. The Ant Trail uses paths which are uneven and may be wet in places.
Walking information
The Ant Trail leads from nearby Chudleigh Knighton village into and around the nature reserve. It takes around 45 minutes to complete. A shop and pub can be found in the village. A 4.5 mile Bovey Basin Wild Walk links this nature reserve to Bovey Heathfield and Little Bradley Ponds nature reserves.
Parking on the roadside near each entrance
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Devon Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01392 279244


Factsheets and guides for your visit