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Scanniclift Copse

Small but perfectly semi-naturally formed

A trip to Scanniclift Copse is to experience the Teign Valley's rich patchwork landscape of hedges and small woods set among fields. The reserve is one such small, but well connected, woodland nestling on the sharply rising valley sides, overlooking the hedged pastures of DWT's Woodah Farm.


A permissive path along a quiet lane and track brings you to the site entrance. Follow the 1km circular trail, which in places is narrow, winding and steep, with several sections of steps, through the 8 hectares of woodland. It may take only an hour to walk round, up and down, but there is much to see on the way.


Melanistic fallow deer

photo: Mike Bartholomew



Scene from a certain angle

The slopes offer a different perspective, the chance to see both the top and bottom of a woodland, from treetops to leaf litter.


Veteran oaks, the larger trees over 300 years old, occupy the canopy, accompanied by ash on the upper slopes. Under a varied understorey of hazel coppice, holly, spindle, blackthorn, hawthorn, field maple, crab apple and suckering elm, you may glimpse melanistic fallow deer browsing among the soft shield and hart's-tongue ferns, while wood ants forage in the leaf litter below.


Scents and sensibilities

Scanniclift is a place to encounter the sights and sounds of a woodland, and also the smells: in spring the reserve is filled with colours and scents from flowers such as bluebells, bugle, wood anemone, woodruff, wood spurge, wild garlic and pignut.


More unusual plants recorded here include bastard balm, toothwort and bird's-nest orchid. The site is also special for rare beetles and other invertebrates which live in dead and rotting wood. Dead standing trees are purposely retained for the habitats they provide and create: natural windblow helps form glades and wet wood flushes.


A branch of history

Scanniclift Copse was bequeathed to Devon Wildlife Trust by Kathleen Dorothy Gifford Scott in 1984. Historically this was a working woodland; evidence of past coppicing, charcoal hearths and quarry caves can still be seen. Today the caves are home to rare horseshoe and barbastelle bats, well placed for an aerial commute along the Teign Valley. 


Take your next step

From here it is a short trip to nearby Dunsford nature reserve for another Teign Valley riverside walk.

Species and habitats


Nearby nature reserves

Woodah Farm
1 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Woodah Farm Rural Skills Centre
1 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
3 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

1 mile south west of Doddiscombsleigh
Nr Exeter
Map reference
SX 843 860
Best time to visit
Mar - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
8.00 hectares
Path can be rough, with steps in places. The ability to access the reserve is inhibited by the natural steepness of most of the site and natural woodland obstacles such as tree roots. Contact the Trust for disabled access information
Walking information
The ability to access the reserve is inhibited by the natural steepness of most of the site and natural woodland obstacles such as tree roots. Allow 45minutes to walk the circular route.
Cross the River Teign and park beyond this where the road widens
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Devon Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01392 279244


Factsheets and guides for your visit