A classic introduction to one of Devon's best remaining Culm grasslands.

At Devon Wildlife Trust we're very proud of the work we've done over the past 30 years working to preserve the county's Culm grasslands. Wet and wild they may be, but their wildflower, insect and bird life make them a jewel in Devon's natural riches.

Explore Dunsdon Nature Reserve with Nick Baker by clicking on the link below. 

Nick Baker at Dunsdon nature reserve



Dunsdon is probably the best known of our Culm reserves. While, from the 1960s onwards, Culm grasslands disappeared across North Devon, here at Dunsdon the fields of purple moor grass, orchids and butterflies were left unchanged.  


Marsh fritillary. Photo: Chris Root


Big numbers 

Today we continue the traditional management of years gone by - grazing with a few Devon Ruby cattle in summer and swaling (burning) areas in winter. Visit in May to August and the rewards are obvious - 189 species of flowering plant have been counted here including lesser butterfly orchids, petty whin and whorled caraway.


26 different kinds of butterfly have also been spotted, including the unofficial emblem of the Culm - the marsh fritillary.


By Royal appointment

In 2012, Dunsdon was named Devon's Coronation Meadow to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of HRH The Queen. Another recent development has been the purchase of neighbouring fields and the construction of hedgebanks and the planting of wildflowers in an attempt to allow Dunsdon's wildlife  to spread.


Part of the old Bude Canal which forms the western edge of the reserve has also been recently restored and 're-wetted'. It's now a great place to spot dragonflies and amphibians.


Devon Wildlife Trust's Dunsdon nature reserve has been supported by Viridor Credits Environmental Company.


You can begin to explore Dunsdon and the surrounding area using our Dunsdon Wild Walk.


Love Dunsdon, or any of our 49 other nature reserves? Why not think about becoming a regular Devon Wildlife Trust supporter?

Species and habitats

Grassland, Woodland
Grey Heron, Ragged-Robin

Nearby nature reserves

Vealand Farm
1 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Lower Lewdon
3 miles - Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Maer Lake
6 miles - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Close to the hamlet of Pancrasweek
Nr Holsworthy
EX22 7JW
Map reference
SS 302 080
Great for...
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
63.00 hectares
400m of easy access board walk leads to a viewing platform. People are free to explore surrounding fields but conditions under foot can be wet and boggy.
Walking information
400m of boardwalk, then open fields for visitors to explore. A Dunsdon Wild Walk offers a four mile exploration of the wider landscape (see 'Visit us' pages of this website for details).
Car park at entrance
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Devon Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01392 279244


Factsheets and guides for your visit