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Go for a festive stroll in North Devon's forests

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View at Eggesford Forest from Hilltown Wood

Is the chaos of Christmas taking its toll? If so, why not take some time out and make a relaxing visit to one of North Devon’s beautiful forests. Spending time in the woods is not only good for people’s health and wellbeing it is also the perfect way to relax and escape the festive madness.

Discover Wistlandpound, a beautiful site near Barnstaple is a partnership project between Calvert Trust Exmoor, the Forestry Commission and South West Lakes Trust.

The project is based around the picturesque reservoir, managed forest and heritage buildings located at Wistlandpound, near Barnstaple. There is a small parking charge of 2 for the whole day so it’s also a value for money day out.

In addition, the Old Station Inn at Blackmoore Gate is offering to refund people’s parking charge if they go there afterwards and purchase drinks, snacks or meals from them. They will refund 50p parking charge for a minimum spend of 5 and 2 for a minimum spend of 15. They are open all over the festive period except Christmas Day.

Alternatively why not visit the pretty Eggesford Forest in the Taw Valley. Within Flashdown Woods in Eggesford some of the first trees planted by the Forestry Commission in 1919 can be seen. Also at Hilltown there is the Queen’s stone, which commemorates the millionth planting of the Forestry Commission in 1956.

Eggesford has a few waymarked trails, and people can also take longer walks that follow public footpath signs and under the public railway line to Eggesford All Saints Church, Garden Centre and Railway Station. There is also a motte and bailey castle, a scheduled ancient monument, that is the remains of a once imposing Norman fort.

For more details about all of Devon’s woodlands visit the Forestry Commission’s website

1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at

2. Established in April 2000, South West Lakes Trust is the South West's largest conservation and recreation charity. It was created to encourage, promote and enhance sustainable recreation, access, nature conservation and education on and around over 50 inland waters in the South West for the benefit of all. The Trust is now listed in the top 3,000 of the country’s 190,000 registered charities, attracts some two million visits annually to its venues and visitors contribute around 30 million of much needed inward investment to the local economy. By developing key inland water sites, the Trust has enabled local businesses to grow and develop their own enterprises.

3. Calvert Trust Exmoor provides challenging outdoor activities for people with disabilities to enjoy, together with their friends and family. All activities are on site, we have our own riding stables and indoor and outdoor climbing walls. We also offer sailing, canoeing, kayaking, horse riding, carriage driving, archery and a zip wire. Specialist equipment and highly qualified instructors make activities accessible for all ages and all abilities. In the evening guests use the pool and jacuzzi and there's a sensory room with equipment that's already a favourite. Our accommodation is accessible to all, equipment such as hoists are provided and the food is home cooked. Guests have outdoor adventures that restore their confidence and self esteem. At Calvert Trust Exmoor we focus on what people can do rather than what they can't.

Kirstie Smith, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission on 01392 834249.