Just a short time ago Rowdon Valley Wood was a two acre piece of overgrown woodland on the edge of Bridford village and hardly anyone knew of its existence.
Today it provides a magical circular walk through the wet woodland alive with birds and featuring boardwalks and bridges, ponds and a small waterfall, boggy areas full of interesting plants and a viewing platform which is accessible by wheelchair. Find out more about its development here.
A Remnant of Wet Dartmoor Woodland
Rowdon Valley Wood is a superb example of wet Dartmoor Woodland which has remained untouched for many years. The woodland is predominantly old hazel and willow, which was probably coppiced in the past, but is now very overgrown, with much dead and rotting wood. The floor of the valley is for the most part wet and several small channels run into the main stream through large boggy patches covered with huge drifts of Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, and the trees are clothed with a variety of mosses and lichens. Venturing into this overgrown area is like entering a different world with its remarkable contrast to the dry open fields and hedgerows of the surrounding countryside.
Though the predominant trees are willow and hazel, there are some sizeable oak, ash, beech and sycamore trees, with occasional elder, holly and blackthorn bushes. Honeysuckle and ivy is scrambling through much of the vegetation. Primroses, Celandines, Bluebells, Bugle, Herb Robert, Cuckoo-pint, Town-Hall Clock and Hemlock-Water Dropwort are some of the more obvious flowering plants, and there is a good collection of ferns, mosses and lichens.
On the bird front, typical woodland species like Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Treecreepers and most of the tit species are resident, and then in the summer visitors such as Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers come to breed and add their distinctive songs to the woodland chorus.