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6. Little Haldon Heaths

Situated to the north of the Teign Estuary, Little Haldon is particularly important for its large areas of lowland heath. Little Haldon is rich in wildlife and the Council-managed site here comprises two small areas of lowland heath, each with a car park and picnic area, linked by a public footpath: Whitewells Picnic Area & Car Park and Postman's Path Picnic Area & Car Park.

Facilities

  • free parking - two small car parks both with height restriction barriers (2.1m high at White Wells, 2.2m at Postman's Path)
  • dog bins
  • picnic benches
  • information boards
  • disabled access to view point and some picnic benches

Location and access

Little Haldon Heaths are on a ridge about a mile north of Bishopsteignton on the north side of the River Teign. They can be reached from the road along the southern edge of Teignmouth Golf Course. 'White Wells' picnic site is at the south west corner of the golf course and 'Postmans Path' picnic site is at the top of Shepherd's Lane. Postman's Path itself is a public footpath joining the two picnic sites.

Wheelchair access is unfortunately impractical along the Postman's Path but the two car parks and some of the picnic tables are 'wheelchair friendly.'

Wildlife

The heathland here has formed on very acidic well drained soils. The most common, and most colourful plants are common heather (ling), bell heather and western gorse. Among the rarer plants here are the dainty white climbing corydalis and the parasitic 'dodder'. Devon whitebeam is an attractive small tree which is hardly found anywhere outside Devon - but it is quite common at Little Haldon!

Stonechat and nightjar - both characteristic birds of heathland, breed here along with yellow hammers and many other species. Common lizard, adder and foxes are often seen on the heathland.

Historical interest

Lowland heath habitats began forming over 5,000 years ago when hunter-gatherers became farmers and progressively cleared the native forests. In areas of southern Britain with thin sandy soils such as Little Haldon, heather and gorse soon took root, creating large expanses of heathland.

Recreation

White Wells Picnic Site and Postman's Path Picnic Site are very popular with picnickers and walkers, with cyclists using the nearby roads, with dog walkers and with visitors enjoying the spectacular panoramic views.

Management

Heathland at Little Haldon is managed under a Countryside Stewardship Agreement to maintain vigorous and healthy heather communities, by cutting back excessive bracken and scrub and by occasionally cutting the heather to simulate historical grazing practices.