The Leighon Estate sits at the heart of the Bovey Valley on the eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park. Surrounded by rolling hills and ancient rainforests, the estate offers a picturesque setting that never fails to captivate the senses. The stunning view of Hound Tor, rising in the distance, further enhances the magical atmosphere. The Becka Brook meanders gracefully through one of the country’s most extensive tracts of ancient Atlantic rainforest.
Working in partnership with Dartmoor National Park, the Woodland Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust and the incredible engaged local community we are creating a unique wilderness reserve connecting the neighbouring landscape and providing people with an opportunity to reconnect with this rare and special environment.
“Leighon will be the country’s leading wilderness ecotourism attraction helping people connect with the natural world and in the process becoming custodians and advocates for its protection and improvement”
The land is wonderfully diverse combining pasture, moorland, brooks and streams as well as breathtaking ancient woodland. An independent review by the Woodland Trust ecology team identified 40 woodland species (either rare or rapidly declining) within the site. Within a 2 hour survey window, 33 bird species were identified including many rare and threatened species within the woodland, wood-pasture, farmland and moorland. As well as birds and other animal species they specifically referenced many incredible veteran open grown and woodland trees – including stunning examples of holly, hawthorn, rowan, beech, oak, ash, elm – “most of them dripping with clean air lichens and bryophytes”.
We have now introduced conservation grazing ponies to Leighon. The ponies are regularly moved across the estate and used to graze three discrete pastures and meadows at Leighon, but you will only see them from November through to April. The ponies graze and trample the grounds and open niches for new plants to seed into, and the ponies’ dung helps to fuel the soil community.
Leighon provides the centerpiece for an ambitious landscape recovery project delivered in partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust, Dartmoor National Park, the Woodland Trust, RSPB and the wonderful local community.
Invasive species will be removed, native rare breed grazing animals will return to the landscape and we will support the natural regeneration and expansion of the Atlantic rainforest. We are working in partnership to see the return of beavers and pine marten to this truly special part of Dartmoor, in the process providing hope for a better future for the natural world and the people of Dartmoor.
Under our management, the Estate has already welcomed regenerative, organic food production, helping to provide high quality local produce to the neighbouring community. We have renovated two properties thus far, welcoming new tenants and providing homes for the rural community. In the future we hope to welcome new residents and visitors to the Estate. We believe that, to love and protect nature, you have to experience it, and where better to do that than on Dartmoor.