Legacy to Landscape; linking King Johns Oak to the future.


Legacy to Landscape is a three year project involving the community and celebrates a hidden area of landscape in an area of East Devon, based on a 1780s map of the Shute Estate.

This historic map covers the landscape of the Colyton and Shute area.  


 Our second year of wildlife and history activitieswill reveal the rich heritage of this hidden landscape, which has remained virtually unchanged for centuries and will include the Ancient Tree Hunt: 

Ancient Tree Hunt 2017

Help us find those old, gnarled and large trunked ancient trees forgotten and hidden in the Legacy Landscape. Alongside historical buildings, they are some of our oldest living monuments. However they too often go unrecognised and they don’t get the official recognition that our buildings are afforded. Ancient trees aren’t mapped across the landscape in the same way ancient woodland is, which makes them unintentionally vulnerable to neglect and lack of management.

We need to find where they are so we can ensure their care and protection and also encourage their offspring seedlings to provide future woodland in this special landscape. These trees are right on our doorstep waiting to be discovered.

Join our tree hunt in a former medieval deer park near Shute and learn how to survey ancient trees on an ‘Ancient Tree Hunt in Woodend Park’, on Sunday May 7th. Details in the events listing. 

More information on ancient trees

King John's Oak

Wonderful wildlife

Recent wildlife surveys in the Umborne Valley reveal rare meadows rich in wildflowers. However most of the wildlife in the project area is under recorded. The project is discovering how much wildlife still thrives and identifying opportunities to improve it. Wildlife events have been organised to involve local communities in learning how to identify wildlife on their doorstep. This will help in increasing records for the whole project area. 

Helping wildlife

Practical conservation sessions help improve the landscape and its wildlife. Stay for a few hours or the whole day and play a part in securing the area’s wildlife for future generations to enjoy. Tools, gloves and drinks provided. 

Unearthing the hidden history

The project area contains a medieval deer park, ancient trees, and was once covered in orchards. However little information is available about its history. We are sure it has many fascinating secrets. If you would like to get involved, then please join us and help investigate old maps and other historical documents and books.  We will also be gathering oral histories. If you have a memory to share about the landscape we would love to hear from you.  Help us piece together this remarkable historic jigsaw puzzle. 

Find out more about the history and visit the following:

Shute Barton, National Trust Open Weekends Shute Barton, the first Shute House, and medieval home to the Bonville and then the Pole Families with commanding views over their extensive land.

May 20/21,  June 17/18 ,  Oct 14/15 ,  Nov 18/19   for opening times : www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shute-barton 

Colyton Parish History Society Heritage Centre

Merchant's House, Market Square, Colyton, EX24 6JR

Find out more about this historic area

Admission Free

Open from April to October, Opening hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10.00am to 4.00pm
Saturday 10.00am to 1.00pm 

Colyton History Walks with local guides

Colyton Parish History Society
2pm Every Thursday afternoon 6 April until 28 September

1hr walk around town, start from Dolphin Street car park
£3 per person (under 16s free) 


Discovery Strolls

Local groups are invited to get involved. We are offering ‘Discovery Strolls’, a chance to get out and explore the landscape, enjoy the views, and see wonderful wildlife  using easily accessible routes, walking at a relaxed and leisurely pace. Walks can last about an hour or so, to suit group needs, and are on fairly level ground. 

School and youth groups

Please do get in touch. We can offer a range of hands on, fun and educational activities at many of the sites in the project area. The programme includes: stream survey in the River Coly, seasonal safaris in the medieval deer park at Shute, meadow bug hunts in rare traditional hay meadows, bat walks, environmental art and autumnal seed gathering in Enna, Holyford or Shute Woods. 

Ruth Worsley the Project Co-ordinator said “ the project provides potential for all ages to engage with the project at a variety of levels, whether it’s enjoying the landscape and wildlife, searching archives, pouring over old maps, learning more about our native wildlife or leading a survey group. No matter what your current knowledge or your particular interests we would like to hear from you and would love you to be involved”.

The first season of the project has been captured in a series of photographs which illustrate the breadth and variety of activities that have been organised for local people. Click on the book for full screen mode. 


The Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with additional support from the East Devon AONB Partnership, Devon Wildlife Trust and the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society. 


If you would like to get involved, please contact

Pete Youngman, 01404 310012, pete.youngman@eastdevonaonb.org.uk
Or to book into an event please contact
Ruth Worsley at legacytolandscape@gmail.com

Contact Us

East Devon AONB Partnership
Kennaway House
Coburg Road, Sidmouth
EX10 8NG

Tel: 01404 46663

Email : info@eastdevonaonb.org.uk

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About Us

In England and Wales, our finest landscapes have been conserved through designation as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

The East Devon AONB was designated in 1963 and is one of the 46 AONBs situated across the UK. The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty provides general information about AONBs, whilst the South West Protected Landscapes Forum exists to provide information and a regional voice for the 14 Protected Landscapes which, together, make up 38% of the South West of England.

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