Ancient Woodlands on the Dartington Hall Estate, Devon

10AM to 4PM, Sat 27th May 2017

A walk to explore and record the flora of several ancient woodland sites on the Dartington Hall Estate. The woods have a long history, including iron-age enclosures, and several mediaeval deer parks, and are one of the largest ancient woodland sites in the South Hams. More recently, some woods have been replaced by an interesting mosaic of experimental mixed conifer plantations, but retain a diverse ground flora. As well as several interesting historical features, including the mediaeval deer park pale and the 18th century deer park wall, we can expect to see a wide range of woodland plants, including many ‘ancient woodland’ species. We’ll also be searching for several more unusual species which haven’t been formally recorded recently, including Bastard Balm Melittis melissophyllum, Bird’s-nest Orchid Neottia nidus-avis, and both species of Butterfly-Orchid Platanthera spp.

As well as exploring some of the publicly accessible woods, we will also have access to Chacegrove Wood, which is not usually accessible to the public. We’ll also be joined by a representative of the Dartington Hall Estate, who will be able to share more information about the current forestry and conservation management of the woods.

This is a field meeting of the Botany Section of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science Literature and the Arts. It is open to everyone with an interest in botany. This walk is free of charge, but places are limited and must be booked in advance. For more information or to book a place, please contact Botany Section secretary Tim Purches (01752 795256,

The walk will be led by Richard Lewis, a botanist, basketmaker and artist based in Harbertonford, close to the Dartington Estate.

Dartington Hall Trust is a charity specialising in the arts, social justice and sustainability, on the River Dart, just upstream from Totnes in Devon. It is home to a range of organisations including Schumacher College and Art.Earth.