Walking through Emsworthy Mire nature reserve
Emsworthy Mire nature reserve
The place to get to know Dartmoor and its wildlife
Emsworthy Mire makes a great introduction to Dartmoor.
A gently sloping valley leads you down between ancient dry-stone walls to the ruins of a moorland farm, abandoned since the 1870s. In early summer the fields all around are a dazzling purple from the flowers of thousands of bluebells - a stunning sight.
A great place to see and hear a cuckoo
Summer birds include meadow pipits, whinchats, stonechats, curlews and grasshopper warblers. This is also one of the most reliable places to still see and hear cuckoos in the South West.
In winter it is golden plovers and woodcock that you will spot.
Emsworthy mire gets its name from its boggy bottom! - an expanse of wet woodland and marshy ground fed by the Becka Brook which runs through the reserve. Don't be put off from exploring. A series of waymarked paths and boardwalks get you close to nature.
Insect-eating plants and rare butterflies
Plants to look out for include bilberry, cotton grass, orchids and the insect-eating sundew. Toads, frogs and adders also thrive here, as does rare insect life including marsh fritillary butterflies and the narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth.
Emsworthy Mire is great place to begin and end a Dartmoor walk. The popular Hay Tor and Hound Tor are within reach via a network of paths across classic moorland scenery. It is possible to follow a circular trail through the reserve, following the installation of wooden boardwalks and easy access gates, thanks to funding from People's Postcode Trust (a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People's Postcode Lottery).
Thanks to local volunteers, and grants from the People's Postcode Trust, Viridor Credits Environmental Company and Moor than Meets the Eye there is now a waymarked circular walk around this reserve, and improved access to the Becka Brook. Fencing has been installed which allows cattle whose grazing will improve the numbers of flowering plants. These flowers are a vital food source to many insects and butterflies.