4. Coombe Valley Local Nature Reserve
Coombe Valley Local Nature Reserve is a wildlife corridor nestling between housing developments in North West Teignmouth. The valley, which was once farmed, is a patchwork of meadows and hedges, linked by a network of paths. It is managed for the benefit of wildlife and quiet recreation.
- seats and picnic benches around the site
- a fenced children's play area and unfenced play tractor
- an informal kick-about area with goal posts
- an open-sided barn which provides wet weather shelter
- dog bins
- limited parking space
Coombe Valley Local Nature Reserve is nestled away at the 'back' of Teignmouth. With a residential area in close proximity, visitors are encouraged to arrive by foot with pedestrian access from Valley Close, Galloway Drive, Beechwood Court, Moorview Drive, Lake Avenue, Gilbert Avenue and Howard Close.
For those arriving by car, the main entrance is from the top of Coombe Lane.
The tall grasses and wildflowers of the meadows support butterflies, colourful day-flying moths and giant bush crickets. The pond and stream provide a home for dragonflies and grey wagtails while the bushy hedgerows provide cover for hosts of nesting songbirds, including the rare cirl bunting.
Historically, Coombe Valley Local Nature Reserve was farmed and much of its original character, with small fields flanked by traditional hedgerows on Devon banks, has survived to this day. The original farmhouses are now private residences but, having been sympathetically thatched by their new owners, provide extra charm when viewed from the valley. In recent years, the brass noseband from an inter-war heavy horse harness was dug up near the play area.
Coombe Valley Local Nature Reserve is managed by the Council's Ranger Service for the benefit of people and wildlife. The wildlife habitat management includes:
- managing the grassland as hay meadows to let wildflowers set seed and to provide a habitat for butterflies, moths, bush crickets and other invertebrates;
- a programme of hedge laying to maintain long term health and vigour and to provide thick nesting cover;
- scrub management to provide diversity and sheltered glades;
- provision of winter corn stubble for cirl buntings which breed on the site. Two very small patches of spring barley are grown each year.