Visitor access improvements

Come along to these drop-in events to find out more:

Four Firs car park: Saturday 28th September, 9am-1pm
Exmouth Town Hall: Thursday 10th October 2-8pm
Joney’s Cross car park: Thursday 17th October 1-5pm

 

The South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership (SEDHRP), East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust (EDPHCT), Devon Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Clinton Devon Estates are committed to environmental conservation of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths – a highly protected area.

As part of this commitment and with a growing population, SEDHRP and EDPHCT commissioned a report to identify ways to protect habitats and wildlife at the same time as improving visitor experiences on the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths.

Share your views on proposals in the Pebblebed Heaths Visitor Access Advisory Report (VAAR), from 23rd September 2019 until 4th November 2019 by answering the survey.

Click on each numbered proposal below to see maps of what each car park could look like, according to the suggestions in the main report. Record your comments about the proposals by following the numbered sections in the survey, which match the numbered proposals below.

Read frequently asked questions.

Find out more about the Pebblebed Heaths.

Find out more about the background behind these proposals.

Find out more about how the proposals were developed.

Thinking about the objectives and principles outlined above and set out in the VAAR, please consider the following proposals and have your say by entering your comments into the corresponding sections of the survey:

1. Joney’s Cross
A new entrance sign, information board, dog bins, height restriction barrier, replace internal security barrier and a small internal space for events. There is a proposal to regrade the surface, tarmac a new entrance with kerbing and provide bunding to divide parking bays, with timber rail to prevent damage.

2. Uphams
Suggest closing this car park for general usage, reserving it for use by site staff, educational visits, Royal Marines and potentially as an overflow for Model Air car park by prior arrangement. There is a suggestion to increase spaces at nearby Model Airfield to offset any loss of spaces. Other proposals include a new entrance sign, dog bin, security barrier, a turning space for coaches and regrading the surface and tarmacing a new entrance.

3. Model Airfield
Increase car park capacity to make up for lost spaces at Uphams car park; move the entrance and parking away from the Scheduled Monument; a new entrance sign, information board, dog bins and height restriction barrier. There is a proposal to level the surface, tarmac a new entrance with kerbing and provide bunding to divide parking bays, with timber rail to prevent damage.

4. Four Firs
To improve visibility and reduce potential for anti-social behaviour, proposals include a new entrance sign, information boards, relocated dog bins and a height restriction barrier. There are proposals to level the surface, tarmac a new entrance with kerbing and provide bunding to divide parking bays with timber rail to prevent damage, adjust gateways for improved access to Bicton Common for disabled ramblers/trampers and provide a waymark route from Four Firs to Woodbury Castle.

Please note: the proposals for Estuary Entrance, Woodbury Castle and Estuary View are all shown on the same map.

5. Estuary Entrance
To provide a significant increase in parking capacity to accommodate the proposed reduction in parking at Woodbury Castle, proposals suggest improving the parking layout to reduce incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour, with the creation of new, all-ability trails. Proposals include a new entrance sign, information boards, dog bins, vehicle security, height restriction barrier and levelling/re-grading existing surfaces and tarmacing a new entrance with kerbing.

6. Woodbury Castle
As this car park is too small to meet visitor demand, where people often find there is no space available, proposals suggest gradually closing or restricting parking at Woodbury Castle. This will reduce pressure on nearby sensitive habitat and protect the Scheduled Monument. To offset this, there are proposals to improve car parking and access at nearby Estuary Entrance, Four Firs and the Warren. Proposals consider retaining a small number of car parking spaces for a phased closure, limiting spaces in the interim to disabled/blue badge holders, a new entrance sign, information boards, dog bins, vehicle security barrier, repairing potholes and tarmacing a new entrance with kerbing.

7. Estuary View
This car park is the most reported in terms of police crimes and incidents (along with Woodbury Castle) and is prone to littering and fires from BBQs/fireworks. There are regular complaints from local residents about night time activity. Proposals suggest closure of the view car park for general use, retaining and reorganising it for events, schools, overflow; creating new, all-ability trails from Estuary Entrance to the view point instead, with information boards, three benches. Existing potholes would be repaired.

8. Warren
Minor adjustments are suggested, to retain a similar number of cars efficiently. Suggestions include moving signage to create a better entry to Colaton Raleigh Common, directing visitors south and west away from sensitive habitats to the east; a new entrance sign, information boards, relocated dog bins, height restriction barrier and altering the entrance to include separate access to the Common for Royal Marines and maintenance vehicles; levelling/regrading surfaces and tarmacing a new entrance with kerbing.

9. Frying Pans
This location is far from the public road and screened by vegetation, which provides little security. There is evidence of regular anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and abandoned cars. It is suggested that this car park is closed for general use and retained for events or other authorised use. Wheathill car park is nearby and can be improved to accommodate the current low level of use. 10-12 spaces on the roadside opposite the entrance will be retained. Proposals include a new entrance sign, information board, security barrier, levelling surfaces and installing a filter drain.

10. Wheathill
This car park is popular due to the range of different walking opportunities available and is surrounded by woodland, which makes for robust trails with the ability to accommodate high numbers of visitors. It is suggested that roadside parking can be restricted to keep the entrance clear, reducing damage and restoring the rural character of the area. Proposals include a new entrance sign, information boards, relocated dog bins, height restriction barrier, altering the entrance to include access to Common for Royal Marines and maintenance vehicles, planing/levelling surfaces and creating drainage.

11. Squabmoor
This is informal parking amongst pine trees, which causes damage to the ground and tree roots. Proposals suggest a small area for 6-7 cars as space when nearby Bystock Ponds roadside parking is full; a new entrance sign, information board, dog bins.

12. Stowford Woods
Parking under trees is damaging their roots. A small number of car parking spaces are suggested.

“No charges for parking” policy
Introducing charging may mean some visitors avoid car parks and park on verges. This is contrary to the aims of these improvements.

Promoted trails
Promoted trails would provide visitors with a good choice of locations to visit, encouraging them along particular tracks. These routes would provide low-key way marking to help visitors explore the heaths.

Improvements to interpretation boards across the Heaths
New boards would help visitors recognise they are visiting somewhere special that is important for wildlife. They should be unobtrusive with clear messages.

Deterring anti-social behaviour
Improving visibility within the car parks and from adjacent roads means any unwelcome behaviour can be seen by site users, passing motorists and the police. This could be achieved by management of dense vegetation. These improvements would reduce anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, theft and vandalism.

 

Thank you for participating in the survey. We understand the long history of local connections to the heaths, as well as the health and well-being benefits for people who enjoy them.

With your help, we can keep the Heaths special for years to come.