This combination of habitats is of considerable importance for nature conservation and it creates a landscape which forms a dramatic setting to the early 20th Century property of Castle Drogo.
The main features of nature conservation interest are as follows:
- Whiddon Deer Park SSSI - Wood-pasture and parkland. Nationally important concentration of open-grown veteran trees in semi-natural pasture.
- Piddledown & Drewston Commons – Upland heathland. Rare invertebrates of hot dry rocky situations. Important butterfly site, with a colony of Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Rare plants including Nationally rare Toadflax-leaved St John’s Wort and Nationally scarce Pale Dog Violet;
- Whiddon & Hannicombe Woods - Upland Oakwoods on north-facing slopes
- Several Bat species - including the rare Barbastelle associated with veteran trees in Whiddon Deer
- Protected mammal species - such as Dormouse in woodlands and Otter in River Teign.
- Rich bird assemblage in the diverse range of habitats - including Nightjar
- Butterfly populations associated with heathland and dry grassland - including Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
One of the most famous areas is Fingle Bridge - a real attraction for visitors to Dartmoor. There is much myth and legend associated with the area - see here.
You can download a walks leaflet here which shows you an excellent 5 mile walk along the River Teign in the Gorge.After your walk you can get food and refreshments at the new Castle Drogo tearooms or at the Fingle Bridge Inn.