Piles Copse Text

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Recreation at Piles Copse

2 people resting

Recreation will always be important at Piles, but nature conservation and stock raising in the summer have to take priority. We need to get the balance right and hand Piles Copse on to future generations in a healthy condition.


The conservation importance of Piles Copse cannot be over-stated. Of the three high level oak copses on Dartmoor, it is the largest and probably in the best condition. All three woods differ significantly and have their own ecological specialities. In most countries a place of such ecological importance would not be accessible for recreation, but here access is permitted under current government policy. This is covered by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act). This law allows access to places like Piles, but also strengthens the management of SSSIs and introduces strict penalties for damage to them.

Your responsibilities:

- Please enjoy the area and respect it so that others can enjoy it too. Rights of access have responsibilities!

- Do not damage any trees: this copse is unique in southern England.

- Keep dogs on leads at all times to protect both wildlife and stock.

- Light fires only in existing obvious fireplaces, and burn only fallen dead wood.

- Take away all rubbish, including that left by others.

- Byelaws permit camping on most of the open moor (commons) for a maximum of two nights. These do not apply to enclosed farmland, such as Piles.

- If you want to camp inside Higher Piles, please call 01752 691749 to arrange. We do not charge, but it is private land, we are responsible for its conservation, and we like to know who is visiting. Past damage by campers has been unacceptable.

- Report anyone not respecting the area.

Please note that the owners cannot accept any liability for injury suffered by people exercising access rights under the CRoW Act. Old oak trees can shed large lateral branches without warning in the summer; and in gales much dead wood comes down. The trees are over-mature and in decline, and so are intrinsically dangerous. The rocks in the river are often very slippery. In floods the river is deadly, and cannot be crossed. Broken bottles are also common from irresponsible campers.

Girl in the water

Girl on a Tor
Rubbish in the woods Rubbish in the woods
Lukesland, Ivybridge, Devon PL21 0JF
Tel: 01752 691749