This 20ha nature reserve forms part of the East Devon Pebblebeds Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It includes wet and dry heath, woodland, scrub, small pools and a 0.6ha man-made lake. The nature reserve is leased to the Devon Wildlife Trust by the Pennon Group (previously known as South West Water). The reserve benefits from a share in the £330,000 Pennon Water Champions sponsorship programme, which provides money for much-needed resources to improve the aquatic environment for the benefit of both local people and wildlife.
HOW TO FIND BYSTOCK NATURE RESERVE
Grid reference: SY 034 844
From Exeter take the A376 and then the B3179 turn-off. Follow the road through Woodbury and take the first turning on the right signposted Exmouth/Budleigh Salterton. Follow this road for approximately 1Km and at the T-junction turn right onto the B3180. After about 1.5Km look out for a right turn signposted to Exmouth. Do not take this turning! Instead, take the unsignposted turning immediately on the left (easily missed!). After about 400m take the first right into Wright's Lane. The entrance to the reserve is about 100m along and on the left hand side of the lane. Please park carefully to the right of the gate.
WALKS AROUND BYSTOCK NATURE RESERVE
A track leads from the gate into the nature reserve. You should allow about three quarters of an hour for a leisurlely stroll to the lake and back. Please stick to the path, since the land on either side is very uneven and can be wet.
Please keep any dogs on a lead and take extra care around the edge of the lake.
WILDLIFE OF BYSTOCK NATURE RESERVE
The pools support important populations of dragonflies and damselflies, with emperor and golden-ringed dragonflies a common sight.
Holly blue, pearl bordered fritillary and speckled wood butterflies are just a few of the many butterfly species present.
Reptiles and amphibians are abundant because of the wet conditions and small pools and include the great crested newt. Dormice are present in the woodland and scrub.
Over the last few years extensive restoration work has been carried out to clear invasive birch, willow and pine from the valuable heathland communities. Ling, bell heather, cross-leaved heath and purple moor grass predominate in these areas together with areas of Sphagnum bog with marsh violet and bog pondweed.