We recently revisited a historic Devon ridge-way, not far from Sidmouth. It’s a beautiful spot for a woodland stroll, made all the more interesting by its links with our ancient ancestors.

Over 2000 years ago a group of Iron Age farmers dug out tons of earth from surrounding ditches to create the ramparts for a hill fort. Today we can see the remnants of all their hard work in the woods at Blackbury Camp.

The oval earthworks enclose the site where early farmers once corralled their livestock for safe keeping. We took a walk around the top of the ramparts, winding through the trees that have grown up in recent years. The ridge was probably much more exposed when the camp was originally built.

What we found there:

Blackbury Camp is along a country lane at the end of a high ridge with views across the East Devon hills. It’s a level, oval shaped space about 200 metres long and 100 metres wide, enclosed by earth ramparts. It’s surrounded by mature woodlands, some on private land and some with public footpaths.

Spring is a particularly good time to visit Blackbury Camp – it’s well known locally for the masses of Bluebells that appear at this time of year. On hot summer days it makes a shady place for a picnic and later in the year it’s a great place to walk amongst the trees in their Autumn colours.

Our trip to Blackbury Camp, April 2017:

If you’re planning a visit:

Where to find it: follow the brown signs from the A3052 Sidmouth to Lyme Regis road. The camp is near Southleigh, Colyton, EX24 6JE, about 15 minutes drive from Sidmouth. Latitude: 50.724307 and longitude: -3.149079.

Parking: there’s a small free car park immediately beside the earthworks, plus parking in the lane nearby.

Public transport: Stagecoach 52A and First X53 buses run along the A3052, ask for the Three Horseshoes stop. From there it’s about a mile cross country walk along footpaths which include a steep climb.

Access: free and open all year round during daylight hours. Muddy after wet weather. The ground is fairly level within the ramparts, with some gentle slopes at the entrances, expect steeper slopes and uneven paths if you want to walk along the top of the mounds.

Facilities: nothing on site (no toilets, café or gift shop) so, if the weather’s good, do what the locals do and bring a picnic.

Timing: half an hour is enough to walk around the site.

Find out more: Blackbury Camp is managed by English Heritage and there’s also more information on the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty web site.

You might also like: our other blog post which has a list of local places to see bluebells.

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