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Burridge Woods

Burridge Woods is a 22 ha broadleaf woodland situated on a steep hillside above the River Barle near Dulverton in Somerset.  It is owned by Exmoor National Park Authority and is made up of largely sessile oak (Querecus petraea) trees, as well as some ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and beech (Fagus sylvatica). The understorey is comprised of hazel (Corylus avellana) and holly (Ilex aquifolium). Most of the woodland forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), designated for its important wildlife including rare lichens which thrive in the clean, moist air, as well as woodland bird species such as pied flycatchers. Along with several other sites including the Tarr Steps Woodlands, Burridge Woods makes up part of Exmoor National Park Authority's Barle Valley Woodland sites.

Much of the woodland was once managed for oak coppice but it is believed that the oak coppice was replaced with a superior stock of sessile oak trees when the woodland was part of the Pixton Estate in the 1880s and these oak trees are now reaching maturity. However, the southern end of the woodland used to be open fields, but since the 1950s it has slowly been colonised by pioneer tree species such as ash and hazel and is now continuous woodland. An old beech hedge boundary still runs through the wood marking the northern edge of the former open fields.

The management of Burridge Woods includes carrying out sensitive thinning which will allow some more light into the woodland. Much of the oak timber has been used in the production of infrastructure like signs and gates by the National Park Authority's Estate Team for use on Exmoor.  Non-native, invasive rhododendron plants have largely been eradicated from the woodland but some regrowth and seedlings occasionally appear and these are removed. Holly is quite dense in places in Burridge Woods and in these areas, the holly has been coppiced back to allow in more light to the woodland floor. The provision of deadwood and deadwood creation is an important element in order to increase this valuable resource at Burridge Woods.

Because Burridge Woods is so close to Dulverton, the local Dulverton Middle School have been utilising the woodland as an educational resource as part of the Exmoor Curriculum.  

Location

Burridge Wood lies within a loop of the River Barle near Dulverton in Somerset and is at grid reference SS912285.

Facilities

There are no car parks on site but there are several pay and display car parks in Dulverton which is just a 5-10 min walk away from the southern end of the woodland.   

Public Access

A Public Footpath, making up part of the Exe Valley Way, runs along the foot of the site parallel to the River Barle. Other permitted paths go through the site.  It is possible to carry out a circular walk from Dulverton via Burridge Wood which involves some walking along roads as well as public rights of way.

What to look out for

Sessile oak trees dominate the woodland. In summer, it may be possible to see pied flycatchers darting through the wood. The Iron-Age hillfort, Oldberry Castle, is located at the top of the site but outside of the National Park Authority's ownership. There are scenic views along the Barle Valley from some vantage points.

Find out more about the management of Exmoor National Park Authority's Burridge Woods in the Barle Valley Vision Statement