Mixed woodland and river valley managed for wildlife
MANY YEARS AGO, Thongsleigh Wood was donated to the National Trust by one Mr Matteson, in memory of his wife, Vera. At his request it became known as ‘Buzzards’ after the birds the husband and wife enjoyed watching here. Since then, further tracts of mixed deciduous woodland have been added, Cross’s Wood and Huntland Wood. These all flank the valley of the Little Dart River (not to be confused with the much bigger River Dart in South Devon). Together with steep pasture and water meadows, the area of public access extends to more than 100 acres and is beautiful with Bluebells in spring. Although not known for rarities, the site is very good for a couple of hours of ‘gentle’ birding. Buzzards rise on thermals above the wooded valley, while the woods and river provide lush and varied habitats. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay are common and Treecreeper and Nuthatch are likely. Dipper might be seen on the river. The valley is frequented by Otters and, although elusive, evidence of their presence may be seen in tracks and spraint. Sightings of deer are more likely.