Starts/Finishes: Ideford Common
Car Park, Colley Lane, TQ13 0BP
Time: 1 hour
Distance: 1.75 miles
Elevation Gain: 50m
Terrain: Hard-packed heathland footpaths, some muddy areas after rainfall
Parking: Free designated car park
Ideford Common Circular Walk
When you think of Haldon Hill, the Idyllic Ideford Common may not immediately spring to mind. Its relatively hidden access point hides thousands of years of history, a diverse habitat system full of wildlife and a chance to escape the crowds while enjoying amazing panoramic views to the south and west of Haldon Hill.
This area of lowland heath was once cleared for farming long ago but due to the land’s poor, sandy soil structure, many plants were unable to grow in the harsh conditions. As such, Ideford Common and other heathlands in the UK have suffered severe decline since the turn of the century, and so special importance is being placed on remaining areas like this one, ensuring the heathland is protected and still enjoyed.
Emperor Moths, Nightjars and lizards can be found living here in and amongst the grasslands and heather, broken up by sparse Scots Pines that stand tall, dotted across the heath.
This small area of nature reserve can be discovered however you please, but we recommend walking the reserve in a clockwise direction to best enjoy the views on offer.
Head onto the common from the car park and follow the wide, tree-covered track for approximately 300m until you reach a fork.
(1) Turn left to make your way across the open heathland, starting to descend. As you make your way along this next section you’ll have uninterrupted views over Teignbridge to the south and even to the southern tors of Dartmoor to the west.
(2) Take the second right turn, and follow this track to a T-junction. (3) Turn right here to head northwest along the southern perimeter of the site. A well-placed bench is available to further enjoy the views.
Continue along the path and enjoy the yellow gorse popping against rich, waxy greenery and the smell of pine filling your nose as you make your way towards denser tree cover.
(4) Stay on this path for 500m and it will hairpin back on itself in the woodland, taking you steadily uphill for a few hundred metres more. Most of the wildlife we spotted was along this stretch so keep your eyes peeled!
(5) The track wiggles left and right, before taking you alongside an open area with wooden posts, marking the high point of the common. Simply continue straight on this path – as you have been – to return to the car park.
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum