East Anstey

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East Anstey parish had a population of 231 in the 2011 census. To the north is the southern part of Exmoor and the Devon Character Area (DCA) known as Exmoor Fringe. The Devon County Council (DCC) says,

this landscape of rolling, interlocking ridges, deeply incised by river valleys and patterned by beech hedges, provides an important setting and transition to Exmoor. The upland river valleys drain southwards from the high moorland, forming deep clefts in the landscape that contain clean, fast-flowing water and are clothed in ancient oak woodlands. The Bray valley is the major landscape feature of the western part of the area; further east the valleys are shorter, steeper and narrower. Tree features and hilltop clumps form notable landmarks. The area is sparsely settled, with individual farmsteads and small hamlets and vernacular buildings that are mainly of sandstone and slate. Seen from the south, the area forms the foreground landscape to Exmoor. Seen from the north it forms a diverse and strongly patterned patchwork of fields and wooded valleys.

Crossing a tiny spot of South Molton Farmland DCA, the southernmost part of the parish is part of the Witheridge and Rackenford Moor DCA which DCC notes has,

an elevated, open landscape with long views to Dartmoor and/or to Exmoor. Within the patchwork of pastoral fields are extensive areas of rough Culm grassland and heathland. These Culm ‘moors’ have a strong sense of remoteness, even wildness, which is accentuated by the relative lack of settlement and the wind-sculpted trees and hedgerows; they give an impression of how large areas of Devon might have looked before agricultural improvements such as drainage, ploughing and fertilizers. The presence in the landscape of numerous clusters of prehistoric barrows adds to this sense of history and changelessness. The strong textures of plantations, beech hedgerows, heathland and grasses contrast with the smooth improved agricultural land which surrounds them. Patches of colour in the landscape change with the seasons – golden, brown and green grasses, purple heather and bright yellow gorse.

East Anstey Parish

Copyright © Ditch Townsend and Devon Lanes, 2016-2017

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