East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Trust
The rarity of the landscape, along with the richness of the wildlife, has earned the heaths special European and national designations including Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protected Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The heaths also form part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The heaths are home to rare species of flora and fauna including 24 types of dragonfly and damselfly, rare butterflies including the pearl-bordered fritillary and silver-studded blue. Notable heathland birds include the fast flying hobby, the nocturnal nightjar and the elusive Dartford warbler.
The East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust is a charity which employs full time wardens to look after the heaths and implement their Heathland Management Plan, developed in conjunction with Natural England. The wardens work throughout the year maintaining the heathland by activities such as scrub and bracken clearance, cutting firebreaks, maintaining paths for walkers and supervising selective grazing by cattle. Conservation volunteers also play an important part in the maintenance programme. Without careful management, heathlands would deteriorate into scrub, and this valuable habitat with its rare animal and plant species would be lost.
The considerable cost of the ongoing maintenance work is met by the Trust and Clinton Devon Estates, helped in part by funds and grants from the DEFRA Higher Level Stewardship.
In 1930 the Estates signed a deed allowing the public access to the common for air and exercise. Today it’s estimated that around half a million visits are paid to the commons each year by walkers, riders and cyclists.
For further information about the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths, please visit www.pebblebedheaths.org.uk