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North Hill Woodlands

Exmoor National Park Authority's North Hill site is made up of nine separate woodlands on a hill top location adjacent to Minehead in Somerset. Collectively, the area of North Hill totals 99ha in area and the woodlands are scattered among the valley combes and slopes and interspersed with areas of heathland.

Historically there were few woodlands on site until the late 1800s when the owners at the time began to plant blocks of conifers. Broadleaves began to be planted in the late 1990s so that today there is a mixture of both broadleaves and conifers. Much of the site was used a military training area during the Second World War and there is still some infrastructure relating to the previous miltary use remaining outside of the woodland areas.

North Hill was acquired by Exmoor National Park Authority in 1997 from Somerset County Council. The main aim of managing the site is to maximise and conserve the wildlife and archaeological values, the landscape character and the public enjoyment. Nature conservation will take precedence over other considerations, except where management work could have a detrimental impact on archaeological features or the use of the area by the public. 

Woodland management techniques mainly centre on the removal of Rhododendron ponticum, the thinning of the woodland canopy and formation of gaps through coppicing. 

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 North Hill Wood Vision Statement.

Location

The site is located on North Hill to the north west of Minehead, Somerset.

Facilities

There is one main car park located off North Road at grid reference SS953474 which is situated at the woodland edge. Two other car parks are located at grid references: SS958469 and SS947476, although these take visitors onto the open areas of the site owned and managed by Exmoor National Park Authority rather than the woodland areas. A pay and display car park is located near the old harbour in Minehead and from there it is possible to walk into the site via the South West Coast Path.

Public Access

There are numerous Public Rights of Way which enter the site as shown on Ordnance Survey maps, including the South West Coast Path which begins/ends in Minehead. As well as these, there are permitted paths through the site which are available for visitors.

What to look out for

There are some excellent views from different parts of the site, including views over Minehead and the surrounding hills, as well as across the Bristol Channel towards south Wales. There are a handful of rare types of endemic whitebeam species growing on site which only live on this part of the north coast of Devon and Somerset. A mixture of different ages of broadleaf and conifer trees are present across the site and there are a number of archaeological features including those dating back to the Second World War.

Find out more about the management of Exmoor National Park Authority's North Hill woodland