Piles Copse Text

Link to Lukesland home page
Links to Piles recreation page
Link to Piles conservation page
Link to Piles science page
Link to Piles history page
Line to Contact us


Piles Copse is an ancient woodland of English oak, situated within the enclosed boundary of a medieval farm in the Erme valley of southern Dartmoor.

Higher Piles from the West

Higher Piles from the West

Piles is the largest of the three high level oak copses in Dartmoor National Park and one of few surviving such woods. As such it has high ecological and scenic value and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and an Environmentally Sensitive Area. Because of these designations, its management and the activities permitted to happen there are regulated by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.


Through lack of maintenance and in some cases by dismantling, the boundary wall of Higher Piles has not been stock-proof for at least a hundred years. Consequently grazing animals have strayed in from the common land of the open moor and browsed off all of the regenerating seedlings. This has led to a situation where the trees are all aged and are starting to die back. The owners are working to restore the ancient wall and rejuvenate the copse, and this website explains why we need support.

Inside Piles Copse

Most people use Piles for Recreation. You are welcome to visit and enjoy the copse and river, as long as you do so responsibly. Read more

However, the Conservation of the copse is paramount, and this is currently our primary management goal at Higher Piles. Read more

Conservation is based on Science, which is somewhat complicated in the case of Piles. We are still trying to work out how best to manage the copse so that it rejuvenates effectively and becomes more sustainable. Read more

Piles has a long History which, although somewhat sketchily understood, helps to explain why it is like it is. People have farmed here for at least 3500 years. Read more

Lukesland, Ivybridge, Devon PL21 0JF
Tel: 01752 691749