Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve, Okehampton, Dartmoor National Park

Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve, Okehampton, Dartmoor National Park

National Nature Reserve on a bank of the West Okement River as it flows into Meldon Reservoir in the north west of Dartmoor National Park. The Reserve was featured in the BBC’s 2010 programme 'Secret Britain’ and is home to rare, high altitude oak woodland.

There’s an information board on the edge of the forest that reads: 'This is one the best examples in Britain of high altitude oak woodland. It is nationally important for the great variety of lichens and mosses that clothe the trees and rocks. The high humidity, mild winters and low levels of air pollution on Dartmoor provide perfect conditions for mosses and lichens. Some of the species found here are threatened with extinction in Europe, primarily because of air pollution.’

Above the Reserve is Black Tor which offers wonderful views of the valley as it runs down to the reservoir. To the north east is Dartmoor’s highest ground at High Willhays and Yes Tor. Across the valley is Corn Ridge.

The easiest way to walk to the Reserve is from the car park at Meldon Reservoir. Skirt the water (there’s a path around the reservoir) and then head up the valley to the small cluster of oak trees.

Perhaps the best view of the Reserve is from Corn Ridge.