South Devon National Landscape
Follaton House, Plymouth Road,
Totnes TQ9 5NE


Tel: 01803 229330


Deeply rural rolling patchwork agricultural landscape


  • The patterned mosaic of predominantly small fields and Devon hedges reflects centuries of harmonious human involvement working in and shaping the landscape.
  • The complexity of the agricultural landscape vividly contrasts with the dramatic coastline and expansive apparent uniformity of the sea.
  • Mixed farming enterprises have been central to shaping the farmed landscape of the National Landscape and supporting its high nature value.
  • Away from the coast, wide, tall and mature Devon hedges supporting hedgerows enclose land at a very high density.



Distinctive characteristics

  • Elevated land with a pleasing rolling topography.
  • The pattern of wide, deep and mature Devon hedges (hedgerows on banks) makes a substantial contribution to character.
  • A generally small, irregular field pattern on lower and steeper land changes to one of medium to large fields on plateau tops.
  • Sparsely-wooded plateaux with wind sculpted and stunted hedgerow trees prominent in exposed locations near to coast, contrasting with tall mature hedgerow trees further inland.
  • Predominantly mixed farming with pasture on the steeper slopes.
  • Arable cultivation on flatter areas with larger field systems.
  • The sparse but clustered settlement pattern, farmstead layouts and local vernacular building materials make a significant contribution to a distinctive sense of place.
  • Farmsteads are scattered throughout the area, away from ridgelines and nestled in dips often with shelterbelts.
  • Sparsely wooded high ground is often accentuated by hill top copses.
  • Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland and Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites are found on steeper valley sides.
  • A vivid contrasting tapestry of colours change throughout the seasons from subdued pastels of winter stubble to deep-red newly ploughed soils, the bright yellow of flowering oil-seed rape, deep green young wheat, ripe golden barley, and the pale yellow-white of newly harvested grass.
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