Lost farmstead uncovered

SCRUB clearance work currently being carried out at Devon Wildlife Trust’s Knowstone Moor nature reserve has uncovered a long-lost farmstead, hidden from view for decades.

The 120-hectare reserve near Rackenford is a mixture of grassland, heathland and bog split by the A361 North Devon Link Road.

It was known that the ruins known as Little Comfort Farm existed at the site, but work this month to remove scrub as part of the GrantScape funded Culm restoration project has unveiled a large area of walls and foundations thought to date back to Elizabethan times.

Ian Chadwick, the nature reserve’s officer for the site, said: “We knew there was supposed to be a farmstead in the area, but until now had never had the funding to really get on top of the thick scrub and fully discover it. Now, with the help of contractors and volunteers, the site has really opened up and we can see the layout of the farmstead, its outbuildings and walls.”

As well as opening up the ruin, the conservation work is due to benefit a wide range of rare species that exist on the nature reserve, including birds such as curlew, nightjar, whinchat and hen harrier and rare insects the marsh fritillary butterfly and narrow-bordered bee hawkmoth.

The charity is now interested to hear from local historians who may be able to shed more light on this ruin.

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