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5. Ideford Common

Ideford Common is a large triangle of lowland heath (39.8 hectares/98 acres) on the southern edge of the Haldon Hills. Heathland habitat has become increasingly rare - both locally and nationally - over the last two centuries, with the importance of Ideford Common confirmed by its Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status. It is notable both for its breeding birds and for its invertebrates. The site has been managed by Teignbridge District Council's Ranger Service since 1993 when it was leased from the Clifford Estate Company. Management is for the benefit of nature conservation and quiet recreation.

Facilities

  • free parking - the site has a small, shady car park north of the site
  • public transport nearby
  • seats¬†where people may rest and enjoy the view
  • interpretation board

Location and access

Ideford Common is on the southern edge of the Haldon Hills quite close to Ashcombe. Leave the A380 at the Ashcombe Cross junction and take the B3192 Teignmouth Road. Take the first right (400m after the roundabout) down an unsigned lane. Just as this lane turns sharp left you will see the Ideford Common car park in front of you.

Once at the site there is a network of tracks which provide access around the site. Three of the tracks are designated public bridleways and access on horseback and bicycle is permitted over those. All other tracks, one of which is designated as a public footpath, are pedestrian access only. Although many of the trackways are quite level in gradient and therefore suitable for less mobile people, their surface consists of eroded, exposed flints. Therefore they are not suitable for conventional wheelchairs, electric scooters and pushchairs.

Wildlife

Great Haldon Heaths were notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1988. Ideford Common falls within this SSSI. Ideford Common represents about 2% of the remaining lowland heath in Devon. Typical heathland species are abundant throughout the site and there are areas of silver birch and willow scrub, valuable for feeding nightjar, on the margins.

Historical interest

A prehistoric barrow is located in the north-east corner of the site, and two small cairns are located in the central northern part, close to the track. The barrow in particular is in very good condition with evidence of a ditch surrounding it, although the 'dishing' in the top suggests it may have been excavated, probably during the 18th Century. It is a large site and the extensive network of flinty tracks gives plenty of scope for exploration. Most heathland birds are ground nesters so if exercising the dog, remember to keep him close and out of the long vegetation. Ideford Common is designated as a SSSI in part because of its birdlife and it's well worth taking binoculars if you have some. Cycling and horse riding are permitted on the site's three designated bridleways.

Recreation

It is a large site and the extensive network of flinty tracks gives plenty of scope for exploration. Most heathland birds are ground nesters so if exercising the dog, remember to keep him close and out of the long vegetation. Ideford Common is designated as a SSSI in part because of its birdlife and it's well worth taking binoculars if you have some. Cycling and horse riding are permitted on the site's three designated bridleways.

Management

Management of the site is assisted under the Government's Countryside Stewardship Scheme. One of the main threats to heathland wildlife is invasion and shading by trees, which overshadow the heather and gorse, eventually killing them. Other threats include damage from unauthorised vehicle access, raves and tipping and accidental or malicious fire.