Keith Perry: Family-friendly ramble around park that's home to variety of wildlife

Torbay Weekly

Stover Country Park is a hub for several interesting walks - the Stover Trail from Newton Abbot to Bovey Tracey, the 18-mile Templer Way to Haytor and the four-mile Heritage Trail among them.

But if you're looking for a less taxing ramble the park is ideal for an easy, family-friendly walk around part of the 114 acres of woodland, heathland, grassland, lake and marsh developed by Devon entrepreneur James Templer in the late 18th century.

Templer’s estate covered 80,000 acres and includes his palladian mansion, Stover House, now a private school, as well as the canal and tramway he built to transport granite from Haytor and clay from Bovey basin to the docks at Teignmouth.

The park is home to a variety of wildlife including birds, dragonflies and small mammals and the information boards at regular intervals along the route make this an educational experience for all nature lovers.

The focal point of Templer’s development is Stover Lake and it's the ideal place for a stroll for walkers of all abilities.

The flat pathway around its shores is suitable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies and there are plenty of benches and picnic tables as well as bird watching hides along the water’s edge.

Be sure to take in the aerial walkway for a bird’s eye view of the woodland and ponds below.

Large carved wooden boards give visitors greater insight into the resident wildlife while children’s art and poetry competition winners have their work displayed on the handrail which also incorporates fun games.

Along the way you can pick up yet another trail - The Ted Hughes Poetry Trail.

Opened in 2006 to celebrate the Poet Laureate’s long-standing links with Devon, it features 16 ‘poetry posts’ displaying outstanding examples of Hughes’ work selected with the help of his widow, Carol, to relate to the wildlife seen and heard around the park.

At the visitor centre at the park entrance you will see the ‘Wishing Tree’ which is designed to help raise funds for the restoration of some of the park’s features.

The Friends of Stover Park charity and Devon County Council are aiming to raise £2million towards improvements which include the removal of silt from the lake and the expansion of pathways to give visitors access to the wider park.