Thorncombe Environment Group - caring for our Parish

Thorncombe lies in a very beautiful part of West Dorset, bordering Devon and Somerset. It falls within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) . The Parish is over 5,200 acres in extent and is principally agricultural land.  

Fields tend to be small and hilly with ancient hedgerows, while the access roads to the village are very narrow lanes, shaded in summer by tall trees including oaks, beeches and sycamores, and fringed with primroses, bluebells and cow parsley.

Home The Trust News & Events Nature History  Gallery Local Walks Links  Privacy Site map Contact  Us

Thorncombe Environment Group


                                              Below is an extract from our History section.

Local Walks

Over the years the Environment Group has produced  9 local walks described in detail with  maps .

You can download these walks and the maps , you can also buy for 50 p a copy of each walk  from the Village Shop in Thorncombe.

They are in a file in the corner of the shop.

 Hewood, near Thorncombe


                                                   PISSARRO AT HEWOOD

Lucien Pissarro (1863-1944), son of the famous Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, lived at Hill Cottage, Hewood for the last years of his life.  Born 1863, he came to London to escape political upheaval in France.  With  his wife, Esther, he  established the Eragny Press in 1892 which became a leading publishing house.  Lucien designed his own typeface while his wife did much of the engraving.   The press closed in 1914 and Lucien returned to landscape painting, becoming a leading member of the Camden Group of painters.   The Pissarros frequently rented properties in the Dorset/Devon borders between the wars, including  Fishpond, Chideock and Hawkchurch, where Lucien would paint the surrounding area.  It was therefore natural that they would consider a  move to Dorset at the outbreak of war.  ………….

                                                                                               Read on……


The parish of Thorncombe is rich in a wide variety of wildlife. There is a  mixture of arable farming and pasture, with wide hedges - many of which have been dated to hundreds of years of age. Many hedges support mature trees, especially oaks, and there are several pieces of woodland and copses in and around the village.

There is a healthy range of habitats, ranging from damp, boggy ground near the rivers Synderford, Axe and Blackwater that surround the area, to sunny pastures and to the high downland of Blackdown, providing suitable environments for a wide range of indigenous plants and flowers and supporting healthy populations of insect-life.

Deer are commonly seen in the fields - and gardens- as are rabbits, squirrels and other small mammals. Many badger setts  are clearly active in the area.

Bird life is exceptionally rich, with common visitors to bird-tables and gardens  including great-spotted woodpeckers, green woodpeckers, treecreepers, nuthatches, siskins, jays and flycatchers. There are nesting buzzards in the Dungeon woods close to the village centre. Herons are frequently seen flying over and visiting ponds and lakes. Pheasants are bred for shooting so are also very common.

                                                          Chard Junction Nature Reserve

We are very fortunate to have a brand new nature reserve on our doorstep. The reserve at Chard Junction Quarry, grid reference ST 345045, has been developed by Dorset Wildlife Trust. In the far west of the county, close to the Somerset and Devon borders, it provides a much needed haven for wildlife as there are no other nature reserves nearby.  The community reserve, which has not seen any quarrying for many years, contains important wildlife habitats, including woods, ponds and establishing grassland.

The reserve is in the southern part of the quarry, which is no longer used by site owners Bardon Aggregates. The owners have worked closely with Dorset Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Thorncombe Village Trust.

Volunteers from the area gave up their time and energy to cut back brambles and gorse, make paths and benches, hang gates, lay down walk-ways, put up fencing and erect information boards. The work is on-going, and more volunteers would be welcomed with open arms…. Read on and see photos of the Reserve



     Wood violets in the Dungeon Woods


                Bullfinch hiding in the snowdrops


                      Site updated 27.2.24