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  • Writer's pictureKate Morley

A tour around Hill Crest... What to expect...

Updated: May 21

We talk a lot on this website about the land here at Hill Crest, but I thought it might be useful for people to know what to expect when they come and visit us. Hill Crest is a project to 'rewild' 16 acres of a Devon valley. In 2011, Hill Crest was sheep-grazed fields with a small wooded stream and mature hedgerows. Now it is a jumble of planted and naturally-regenerating native trees, encroaching thorny scrub and brambles, grass and wildflowers, buzzing with bees, butterflies and other insect life, full of birdsong, and home to mammals, reptiles and amphibians.


There are a number of grassy tracks that crisscross the site so that people can sensitively access nature. People tend to choose two main routes: Bob's Path and Bill's Path. I have outlined these below with what you may be able to experience, as well as features of the paths that describe how you can navigate the space. We are learning from our guests and how they experience the land so I am anticipating adding to this blog, with points that our visitors notice as they make their way around the space.

Aerial drone photograph of house and railway carriage with field and tracks through with tree in tree guards dotted through

Bob's Path


  • Overall distance: 0.8km (or approximately 0.5miles) there and back

  • Number of benches: 2

  • Distance to sit spots:

    • Car park to Hare Clearing: 0.13km

    • Hare Clearing to Bob's bench: 0.46km

    • Bob's bench to car park: 0.8km

  • Maximum gradient: 11%

  • Elevation gain: 26m

  • Path width: Approximately 180cm

  • Path surface: Short grass small areas near the pond can be squelchy underfoot after prolonged rain

  • There are no gates to open or stiles on this path

  • Seasonal highlights to notice:

Aspen leaves rustling in the wind

Glow worms can be seen on path edges at dusk in the early summer

Slow worms can sometimes be seen moving across the paths

Watch the kestrel hunting for voles

Pass the pond which hosts herons and amphibians

See if you can spot the 'Lynx' keeping watch where the paths join

Grassy ride through woodland with he top of a roof in the distance. Thorny scrub including blackthorn and brambles on the right and aspen and birch trees on the left of the path in bright green spring leaves

Grassy track to Silver Birch clearing

Map of path marked in blue
Bench on the right hand side in a clearing in the birch forest with three metal sculptures of hares leaping

Silver birch clearing with boxing hares sculptures

Brown picnic in the foreground with timber stool seats around a fire pit with planted trees on distanct steep field

Bob's bench with views towards Moor Copse

Grassy track running through field with a patch of white Ox-eye daisies on the left just before pond

Middle path past pond

Bill's Path


  • Overall distance: 1.8km (or approximately 1.2 miles)

  • Number of benches: 4

  • Distance to sit spots:

    • Car park to Hare Clearing: 0.13km

    • Hare Clearing to Bob's bench: 0.46km

    • Bob's bench to Great Granny's view: 0.81km

    • Great Granny's view to Stream bench: 1.5km

    • Stream bench to Car park: 1.75km

  • Maximum gradient: 32%

  • Elevation gain: 50m

  • Path width: Approximately 180cm

  • Path surface: Short grass small areas near the pond and the landslip can be squelchy. The bottom track along the stream in the autumn is leaf-covered.

  • There are no gates to open or stiles on this path

  • Seasonal highlights to notice:

Same as Bob's track above.

In the winter views across to Exmouth can be seen

Deer roam the whole site and are nearly always seen

In the spring enjoy the Hawthorn, Blackthorn Rowan and Cherry blossoms

Glow worms can be seen on path edges at dusk in the early summer

In the spring watch out for Early Purple Orchids on the paths

Map showing path in blue


Path going steeply up hill through trees in tree guards with brambles on the left hand side of the track

Steep hill through Moor Copse

Great Granny's view, with two benches next to oak tree with new trees in guards in the distance

Great Granny's View

Leaf covered track going underneath willow and hazel trees with ferns ether side and green ivy hanging down

Bottom stream track

Bench next to the stream with bright green fern foliage and leaves on the ground

Streamside bench

Illustrative map of Hill Crest

Hand drawn illustrative map showing the layour of the site, including Moor Copse, Steep Field, Ylva's grove, the meadow and bungalow field

Things to note.



  • Ticks: We are making more space for nature and are regularly visited by deer, they do, of course, carry Ticks so please wear long trousers or cover your legs to ensure that Ticks don't hitch a ride as there is a risk of contracting Lyme's disease from Tick bites.


  • Toilets: We do have toilets on site which our guests are welcome to use, unfortunately, these are not wheelchair accessible and there is a single step which is 12 cm high.


  • British Sign Language: Kate has Stage 1 in BSL but just let us know if you would prefer a registered BSL interpreter to be available for your visit.


  • Car Parking: We have extensive car parking for up to ten cars. The surface of the car parking area is compacted gravel, and has level access to the land:

Stone gravel drive with drain with grille over it and hard standing drive

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