Area: 23.5 hectares.
Part of the site is managed as a Nature Reserve by the Devon Trust for Nature Conservation. The site area has been reduced.
Andrews Wood, a mosaic of species-rich grassland, wet heath and secondary woodland, supports the largest known colony in Britain of a nationally rare plant the heath lobelia Lobelia urens.
The site, which formerly comprised a series of old fields but which has now partly reverted to woodland, supports a variety of different vegetation types developed on soils derived in part from slates and grits of Lower Devonian age and in part from post-glacial gravel and head deposits.
Many of the old fields retain areas of species-rich grassland and have swards characterised by the abundance of Yorkshire fog Holcus lanatus, sweet vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum and purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea and also by the occurrence of such herbs as black knapweed Centaurea nigra, saw-wort Serratula tinctoria, marsh thistle Cirsium palustre, cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis, lousewort Pedicularis sylvatica and betony Betonica officinalis. In some areas the grassland is marshy and is characterised by the occurrence of hemp agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum, fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica, marsh pennywort Hydrocotyle vulgaris, greater bird’s-foot trefoil Lotus pedunculatus and bog pimpernel Anagallis tenella. In others, wet heath containing heather Calluna vulgaris and cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix occurs. Taken together these grasslands support the largest British colony of a nationally-rare plant, the heath lobelia Lobelia urens. Elsewhere, Andrews Wood comprises somewhat ill-drained, secondary woodland traversed by numerous hedge-banks and small water courses. The woodland is largely dominated by pedunculate oak Quercus robur but contains abundant silver birch Betula pendula together with some ash Fraxinus excelsior, holly Ilex aquifolium and locally beech Fagus sylvatica. The shrub layer is dominated by hazel Corylus avellana and there is vigorous development of honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum and ivy Hedera helix. The ground vegetation is characterised by the abundance of bramble Rubus fruticosus and bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta, with colonies of opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium on the banks of the small water courses. The old hedge banks are a feature of the site and are locally characterised by the abundance of bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus and hard fern Blechnum spicant.
The mosaic of grassland, heath and woodland supports a rich fauna. The breeding bird community is representative of woods in south-west England, and there are also breeding populations of dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius, common lizard Lacerta vivipara and adder Vipera berus. The invertebrate fauna is rich and includes such typical butterflies as marbled white Melanargia galathea, silver-washed fritillary Argynnis cydippe and small pearl-bordered fritillary A. selene.