Work to improve visitor access on the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths will start on Monday 7th February 2022 meaning some car parks will be closed.
Four Firs Car Park on Woodbury Common and Joney’s Cross Car Park on Hawkerland will be closed to the public from Monday 7th February and work is expected to take up to 6 weeks. During this time, visitors are asked to make use of other car parking locations provided across the heaths.
Further works will take place on roadside parking at Stowford (Colaton Raleigh) and Frying Pans (Bicton Common). Find all the latest information on Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and South East Devon Wildlife social media.
The car parks are managed by the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust with funding for the refurbishment work secured through South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership in order to improve access for visitors whilst protecting the rare and vulnerable wildlife found on the heaths.
Councillor Martin Wrigley, Chair of the South East Devon Habitat Regulation Executive Committee and Teignbridge Executive Member for Communities, Housing and IT, said:
The improvements to the existing car parks are much-needed due to increased use from people enjoying the Heaths. The redesigned layout and improved surface means visitors will be able to drive and park more safely and the heaths will be better protected for the future.
Kim Strawbridge, Reserves Manager, Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, said:
We would like to thank people for their patience while these car parks are closed and we would like to reassure people that all other parking areas across the heaths will remain open during this time. We have been looking forward to getting this work underway so that people will be able to benefit from this first round of refurbishment work before the spring.
The Pebblebed Heaths are such an iconic part of the East Devon landscape, incredibly important for both wildlife and local people. Most people arrive by car so having entrance points to the nature reserve that are welcoming and do this unique place justice will make it clear to people that they have arrived somewhere special.
As a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), NNR and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) covering some 1,400 ha, a public consultation was held between September and November 2019 on a Visitor Access Improvement plan for the Heaths. Residents and visitors were asked to share their views on proposed improvements. The proposals were designed to enhance visitor experiences and at the same time protect wildlife and heritage sites, by:
- Improving car park accessibility and layout while at the same time helping to protect ancient monuments and wildlife.
- Improving access for emergency vehicles to reduce response times.
- Improving car park surfaces and entrances for improved safety.
- Increasing visibility in car parks to reduce theft, criminal incidents and antisocial behaviour.
- Installing sensitively designed information boards with maps and route markers for suggested trails.