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Emsworthy mire

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.


Cuckoo by Amy Lewis


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. 


Emsworthy access and entrances map

Nearby nature reserves

Lower East Lounston
3 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
3 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Mill Bottom
4 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

The reserve is off the B3387 on the road from Bovey Tracey to Widecombe-in-the-Moor past Hay Tor.
Near Widecombe-in-the-Moor
TQ13 7TT
Map reference
SX 745 765
Great for...
stunning views
Best time to visit
Apr - Oct
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Opening Times
Open at all times
99.00 hectares

Access around this reserve is by uneven and unsurfaced paths, with some sections of boardwalk. Paths can be wet and muddy at times.
Walking information
There is a public footpath that runs through the middle of the reserve avoiding the wettest areas. The ground is gently sloping, but slightly rocky in places and can be wet and muddy in the winter.
Parking for the reserve is a small car park on the right hand side just beyond Saddle Tor at grid reference SX 748 762. From here there is a 100m walk downhill to the gate at the south east entrance to the reserve.
Dogs under effective control
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Devon Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01392 279 244