Trinity Hill Nature Reserve
Trinity Hill Nature Reserve is fast becoming one of my favourite places to walk. Less well known than some other nearby beauty spots, on the recent occasions I have been it has been peaceful and calm. With stunning views over East Devon, it turns out it is also a place to see Exmoor ponies.
Trinity Hill holds a special place in my heart as I was lucky enough to go to a primary school there, tucked away behind the nature reserve (sadly long since converted into apartments). We would go out for walks and explore the surrounding area, parts of which despite the years I still recognise! Some areas are private but for walking the land includes this East Devon Nature Reserve and a large area of Forestry Commission woodland.
Now I have to admit that I am no great nature expert – I love the changing seasons, colours of the trees, spring flowers, heather and insects and I absolutely love to photograph it all. But when it comes to identifying individual species I need help! Luckily the countryside team hold excellent events all around our local nature reserves for people like me. For those of you who know what to look out for on your own, then this nature reserve supports all sorts of lovely heath land birds, moths and lizards.
I’m also excited to read that it is an official Dark Skies Discovery Site with, I quote from their web site “open skies with relatively unobstructed horizon. Particularly clear to south and east” so I will make the effort to take stroll one evening in the dark on a clear night – I do love the stars.
A lovely place to walk our gorgeous puppy
Our walk on this occasion was memorable for two reasons. Firstly a chance for our puppy to explore a new place. How cute is she!
It’s taking a bit of adjusting to having another body to look after – she’s very much our third child at the moment! We are all totally in love with her already and I am very excited to have a proper reason to go for a walk, albeit a short one at the moment. Having said that up until now we’ve had amazing weather – I might think differently once the rain starts.
Anyway back to Trinity Hill! It’s ideal for her (or anyone who doesn’t to want to walk too far) because due to the layout of the site you can easily choose a walk to suit your needs in terms of distance. The ground is fairly bumpy and lumpy and I suspect muddy in the winter, so you need to be steady on your feet or using a decent off road buggy for little ones.
Secondly it was a chance to see up close the beautiful Exmoor Ponies that have been grazing on the heath since April. They have clearly got used to visitors now as they walked up to see us and were not at all perturbed by the camera or our dog (on a lead of course). The ponies are on loan for the second year for conservation grazing and have once again proved to be a great success on the reserve. They are fenced off but do get moved around and will be there until mid November.
A stunning view looking across the Axe Valley from the Trinity Hill Nature Reserve in East Devon. You can see Stockland Hill mast on the horizon
How Far is the Walk at Trinity Hill?
The Trinity Hill Nature Reserve is an open heathland managed by East Devon District Council and is split in half by the road. On its own it is not actually not that large, about 1/2 mile square. However the paths crisscross over the reserve and around the outside so you can walk quite a way if you want to. If you are feeling energetic the walk can be extended as one path heads off into the Forestry Commission. This part is more wooded – a mix of deciduous and conifers. In places there are wide gravel tracks but also numerous paths through the woods. It takes a lot more exploring and you will need your sense of direction. There is a map in the carpark showing the paths so you can get your bearings but you may need and Ordnance Survey map as well if you want to go further.
Here’s a short video to give you an idea of the terrain and to see the ponies.
Trinity Hill Local Nature Reserve is approximately two miles from Axminster. Take the A35 from Axminster towards Lyme Regis and take the turning right at Raymond’s Hill to Combpyne & Rousdon (where the 40 zone starts) onto Trinity Hill Road – if you reach the Hunters Lodge Pub you’ve gone too far. From the Charmouth direction on the A35 take the second turning after the Hunters Lodge Pub. The car park is on your left after about 3/4 mile. The site has no postal address; nearest postcode is EX13 5SS.
If you are visiting River Cottage HQ (Park Farm) for a course, then this is just a little further along this road
If you are looking for refreshments after your walk the nearest options are the Hunters Lodge Pub back on the A35, Town Mill Bakery at Rousden and Furzeleigh Down Dairy which all have free parking. I can recommend all of these places! Alternatively head into Lyme Regis or Axminster for other choices.