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Hawkcombe Woods

Exmoor National Park Authority's (ENPA) woodland ownership at Hawkcombe Wood is made up of nine woodland compartments, Colescombe Wood, Peepout Plantation, Homebush Wood, East Lucott, Bury Castle and West Lucott, Bromham Wood, Shillet Wood, Hawkcombe Valley bottom and James' Barrow. Together, they make an area of woodland approximately 100 hectares in size which is located within a steep valley to the south of Porlock.

Hawkcombe Wood is made up of mostly sessile oak trees with smaller amounts of ash, beech, birch and hazel.  With the exception of Peepout Plantation all of the woodland compartments are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and also as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), which means they are of national importance for nature conservation. The main reason for these important conservation statuses is for the rare lichens and ferns such as the Wilson's filmy fern, that thrive in the moist clean air of the valley, as well as the wide assemblage of bird and butterfly species.

ENPA manage Hawkcombe Wood primarily for nature conservation and undertake a variety of management operations including gap creation, repollarding old stub pollards, coppicing areas for invertebrate habitats, the retention of deadwood and the removal of any invasive rhododendron seedlings.

If you would like to know more about the woodlands and the woodland management operations ENPA have planned you can find more information in the Hawkcombe Wood Vision Statement.

Location  

NGR SS 8699 4555 (approximate centre of the woodland). It is located approximately one kilometre south west of Porlock village.

Facilities 

There is a small lay-by style car park on the A39 at SS 8615 4607 where access to the woodland can be gained via a public bridleway. Alternatively there are public car parks in Porlock approximately one kilometre from the woodland.

Public Access 

5.3 kilometers of Public Bridleway and 1.2 kilometers of Public Footpath run through the woodlands owned by Exmoor National Park Authority. There are further lengths of public rights of way that cross through privately owned woodlands and farmland that allow access to the woodland. Hawkcombe Wood can be reached from Porlock by using public rights of way. 

What to look out for 

Lichens, woodland birds, ancient pollarded trees, butterflies, industrial archaeology.

Find out more about the management of Exmoor National Park Authority's Hawkcombe Wood