Bellever Moor and Meadows
Access to this Devon Wildlife Trust managed nature reserve/site
We recognise access to nature is hugely important to wellbeing, but at this difficult time, we need to have the health of our staff and the community at the forefront of our mind - including neighbours to our nature reserves. Nature reserve car parks are therefore temporarily closed, and we are asking people not to drive/travel to our sites. For those who live locally and may be accessing sites for the purposes of their daily exercise, we ask that everyone observe government restrictions on outdoor access and ensure guidelines on social distancing are always followed.
Please be aware that key staff will be accessing this site for regular livestock and health and safety checks.
Advice and rules on public access may change. Please keep up to date on the status of access to our sites and also to benefit from lots of great information about our work, about wildlife and about how you can take action for Devon’s stunning natural environment, by visiting www.devonwildlifetrust.org and by following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
Our work for local wildlife continues and remains as important as ever. To find out more about ways in which you can help and enjoy wildlife at home and how to support our work visit www.devonwildlifetrust.org/support-us
Know before you go
Grazing animalsDogs must be kept on a lead in the presence of grazing animals.
Explore a network of paths and footpaths. Bellever Moor and Meadows forms part of walk number 19 'Postbridge, Laughter Hole and Bellever' in book 26 - Dartmoor Walks in the popular series Pathfinder Guides produced by Jarrold Publishing and Ordnance Survey.
Open access. Rough tracks and paths. No steep climbs, can be boggy in places.
When to visit
Opening timesAll year round
Best time to visitMarch to October
About the reserve
If you go down to Bellever Woods today, venture a little distance from the picnic site to be sure of a wildlife surprise. Just nearby are 70 hectares of the new Bellever Moor and Meadows nature reserve, waiting to be explored.
How to get to Bellever Moor and Meadows
This is one of our newest nature reserves. In 2016 we began a lease from the Forestry Commission which will mean we undertake the management of this wonderful moorland site until at least 2041. We've already begun enhancing the land for wildlife and have been busy improving visitor access with new gates, waymarked routes and even a bench or two!
The reserve stretches over a mosaic of 40 small fields grouped in two areas around Naked Hill and Bellever Farm in the north of the site, and Laughter Hole to the south, featuring a variety of traditional Dartmoor meadows. It's a great place to explore.
Enjoy a walk of discovery through the different drystone-walled field compartments, encountering as you wander flowery hay meadows, rush pasture, purple moor grass mire, heathy grassland, moorland, unimproved, semi-improved, and rough pasture, plus a small stream connecting to the East Dart river and tor-capped views across the Dartmoor landscape.
On a summer's stroll look out for the colours of yellow rattle, tormentil, black knapweed, mouse-ear hawkweed, red bartsia and eyebright studding the grassland. In autumn its the turn of pink ballerina wax cap mushrooms to add colour.
Remembrance of things pasture
These are species of ancient pasture and meadow; Duchy of Cornwall records show a farmstead has existed here since at least 1355, while archaeological hut circle remains on Naked Hill are evidence of farming settlement from prehistoric times.
With further active restoration the meadows should support more wildlife as the project progresses. Future return visits will be rewarded with more species to spot and richer habitats to investigate.
Improvement work at the nature reserve has benefited from the support of Suez Communities Trust, which provides grants through the Landfill Communities Fund. This important source of funding has been available since 1997 and supported worthy projects with over £1.4 billion.