You will need to keep your dogs on leads for this 4 mile walk. It is a fairly level walk, with just a little bit of rough ground to contend with. Between May and September you will see the beauty of the Culm wild meadows in flower, with butterflies and dragonflies galore! About 40 minutes from Bowerland (less from Parsley Cottage) – driving directions.
Park up at the Dunsdon National Nature Reserve, in the village of Dunsdon, just before Gains Cross. The entrance to the car park is through a gate on the west side of the small lane. Drive up the driveway and park.
- At the nature reserve entrance sign, turn left and follow the boardwalk through the wet woodland, heading west.
- You will shortly come to a lovely viewpoint where you can occasionally hear the heron birds calling. Cross the open marshy Culm grassland towards the Bude Canal where you may find some cattle. It can be very muddy in places.
- You will come up to a small bridge over the overgrown canal, which you need to go across. When you get to this point you have a choice. You can access the main Culm grassland fields of Dunsdon reserve. Alternatively, you can turn left and follow the towpath on the west side of the canal heading south all the way to Vealand Farm nature reserve.
The Old Bude Canal
Bude Canal is a great place for wildlife. There are also many rushes and iris, and the canal is lined with meadowsweet, as well as other wild flowers. You will go through a dark conifer woods on your right, and you can glimpse Vealand Farm Nature Reserve through the willows.
- When you reach a small stone bridge with a sign to Vealand Farm nature reserve and car park, turn right and leave the canal. After that, turn left and follow a track parallel to the canal and enter the meadows.
- Return to Vealand Farm nature reserve car park and explore the new paths through the restored Culm grassland in front of you. New ponds have been created to encourage wildlife including dragonflies.
- Retrace your steps along the canal, back to Dunsdon National Nature Reserve car park.