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Fingle Wood

Fingle Wood was bought in 2013 by a consortium of the National Trust and the Woodland Trust. Previously it was a private woodland that was latterly used to breed enormous numbers of pheasants. The 500+ acres wood is nestled between Castle Drogo and Steps Bridge Woods - both of them National Trust properties. By making this purchase the whole of the wooded Teign Gorge is now open to the public. The plan is to steadily revert the coniferous wood that was planted in the 1920's back to the state of an ancient woodland which is what it would have been originally. Fingle Wood will evolve over the next 50 years.
Park at Fingle Bridge (SX 743900). Walk over the bridge and turn left. It's about 2 miles to Clifford Bridge along a straightforward riverside track. The return journey is largely along the same track. There are many tracks leading off from the main riverside tracks. These can all be explored but are not illustrated in this walk description.
As described this is an undemanding walk in that there are no ascents, no rough ground and only one or two damp places. Can be done at any time and one bonus is that with the tree shelter it can also be walked in light rain. This walk was done on 31st Dec 2014.
 
The view from Fingle Bridge. On the left is the Fingle Bridge Inn (or Anglers' Rest as it used to be known). This is a popular inn and it serves meals at various times and days - but best phone to check. This is a popular place for visitors.
The 18th century Fingle Bridge taken from SX 743899. This was a packhorse bridge that linked Drewsteignton with Moretonhampstead. It replaced the old stepping stones that are still to be seen upstream. At the time the bridge was built this was one of the main tracks in to the relatively isolated village of Moretonhampstead.
This is where the walk really begins. On the left there is a big car park for those drivers that feel confident to drive over the narrow Fingle bridge. On the extreme left there is a big field that is ideal for picnicking.
Remains of the Fingle Bridge corn mill - SX 745897. The mill burnt down in 1894.
Another view of the Fingle Bridge corn mill.
Walking along the riverside path.
Rhododendron clearance in Dec 2014. Since the acquisition of these woods in 2013 there is a committment to manage the woods to encourage the softwoods while reducing the hardwoods and other invasive plants.
The Teign flowing through the woods at SX 749897
Remains of a charcoal burning area - this is a shallow depression. Charcoal production predates the conifer plantation and in many cases goes back to mid medieval times or even earlier. Traditionally the charcoal was used in tin smelting and for heating pans of clotted cream. However, in WW2 there was a demand for charcoal for cordite.
Fingle wood. The track at SX 761898
Fingle wood.
Seaman's Borough at SX 765901. This is an odd name for such a classic riverside area. Maybe someone was being sarcastic.
The weir at SX 770899.
A seat overlooking the weirpool. Clearly this is a good place to stop and look. In the summer months this would be a nice picnic area.
A stream that drain Hitchcombe Wood. There are many similar streams that drain the hillside that Fingle wood is based on.
The poles here show where there's going to be some serious tree cutting in the imminent future (Dec 2014) - SX 775898
This is where the riverside path joins the road leading down to Clifford Bridge at SX 780897. Keen walkers could go down this road, turn right and continue to walk alongside the river to Steps Cross.
A nice patch of coppiced hazel at SX 769899
Fingle wood.
Fingle wood.
 


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