Area: 13.1 hectares, 32.4 acres.

This is a new site.
The site is within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


The site is part of a steep-sided valley, 0.5 km to the north-east of Axmouth, at an altitude of about 70 m. The soils are varied, being derived from an assemblage of Lower Jurassic and Cretaceous calcareous and clay-based rocks. The main interest is the presence of herb-rich habitats including scrub woodland, calcareous grassland and fen, the last being of particular interest for its variety of orchids.

Predominant species of the fen include purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea, sweet vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, quaking grass Briza media, broad-leaved cottongrass Eriophorum latifolium, marsh arrowgrass Triglochin palustris, the sedges common sedge Carex nigracarnation sedge C. panicea and flea sedge C. pulicaris, few-flowered spike-rush Eleocharis quinqueflora and black bog-rush Schoenus nigricans

Spring Head is an important site for orchids, and the classic locality for the leopard orchid Orchis pardalina, now considered to be a hybrid of the southern marsh orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa and the common spotted orchid D. fuchsii. Other orchids present include marsh helleborine Epipactis palustris and marsh fragrant orchid Gymnadenia conopsea var. densiflora

The site also supports a wide variety of lepidoptera including the marsh fritillary Euphydrias aurinea, green hairstreak Callophrys rubi, marbled white Melanargia galathea, dingy skipper Erynnis tages and grizzled skipper Pyrgus malvae.