Bluebells and ramsons at Scannicluft copse

Scanniclift copse. Photo, Dave Chamberlain

Scanniclift Copse

A trip to Scanniclift Copse is to experience the Teign Valley's rich patchwork landscape of hedges and small woods set among fields.


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 this site 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 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 join our FREE e-news and to support our work visit


1 mile south west of Doddiscombsleigh
Nr Exeter

OS Map Reference

SX 843 860
A static map of Scanniclift Copse

Know before you go

8 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

Cross the River Teign and park beyond this where the road widens

Grazing animals


Walking trails

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.


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


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

March to September

About the reserve

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.

Contact us

Devon Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01392 279244

Location map

Melanistic fallow deer

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.


Explore our 50 nature reserves