Dawlish Countryside Park where the public can enjoy access to 65-acres of beautiful open space

Public can enjoy country walks and wildlife in beautiful open green space, opening 3 September 2017

Residents and visitors to South East Devon will soon be able to enjoy a vast, new 65-acre countryside park – about the same size as 26 rugby pitches - near Sainsbury’s on the outskirts of Dawlish. 

The new Dawlish Countryside Park will be officially opened on 3 September 2017 with a free community event called ‘A family day where dogs can play’. It will be a fun-packed day for all ages to enjoy, whether or not you have a dog to bring with you.

A designated public open space, the park features wild countryside and walks, as well as colourful meadows, barley patches and native woodland, which will be home to a host of wildlife from butterflies to buzzards, corn marigolds to cirl buntings. This natural green space will give more leisure choices for the growing population and people living in new developments nearby, as well as an area where dogs can run freely.

The park has been funded by the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Executive Committee (SEDHREC), a partnership of Teignbridge, Exeter and East Devon councils set up to help protect key conservation sites at Dawlish Warren, the Exe Estuary and East Devon’s Pebblebed Heaths. These sites are special to people for many different reasons and balancing the competing demands is already a challenge because human activity can have a severe detrimental effect on wildlife. 

Years of preparation have gone into the making of Dawlish Countryside Park, which is just one of a range of measures that East Devon District Council is currently working on with Teignbridge and Exeter councils and more countryside parks are planned for the area. The 26.4 hectare site was purchased with money from developers of new housing across the three council areas. 

Council officers worked with Natural England to assess the different options for its location, then undertook lengthy negotiations with landowners. Once the site had been selected, officers worked to provide the necessary infrastructure, like an access road, car parking, tree planting, fencing, and signage. Volunteers, including people from Dawlish Gardens Trust, are working with Teignbridge Countryside Rangers to install furniture and mulch new trees. 

The Rangers are planning a whole host of activities for the entire family to experience, including exploring new walking routes, from a 2.3km network to longer walking routes of 5km. Walkers will be able to experience panoramic views from the Ridge Path, visit the Lookout, go on a mini-beast safari and learn about the ancient history of the park, with archaeological finds on display.

On the opening day, a free new membership scheme for dogs called Devon Loves Dogs will be running fun activities for dogs, too. You can find out more and sign up to the scheme on their website.  

Access to the site’s free car parking is from a new road off the Exeter Road (A379) on the edge of Dawlish. There are also pedestrian access gates from Shutterton Lane and Orchard Lane.

Amelia Davies, Habitat Mitigation Officer, South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership, said: 

Sama and I spend a lot of time across the three conservation sites educating people on how to care for these special places.  At Dawlish Warren our most important request asks people to keep dogs on leads in the correct areas, following seasonal instructions, to reduce the impact on our wildlife and habitat. But soon we will be able to tell them about this fantastic and huge new green space, where their dogs can have fun running freely and  playing off the lead.