Bircham Valley (LNR)

Bircham ValleyBircham Valley is a Local Nature Reserve located in the north of Plymouth immediately south of Derriford Hospital. This site is a haven from the hubbub of the city where you can relax, walk, play and explore nature.

Covering 23 hectares (that's about 23 full-sized football pitches), we share the ownership and management of the reserve with the NHS.

Bircham Valley has some beautiful woodland and meadows to stroll through, alongside a stream which runs through to Forder Valley.

When visiting the hospital, why not take some time out and walk along one of the three routes in the reserve?

Download Bircham Valley leaflet [PDF, 1.4MB]

Wildlife

The site provides a valuable landscape and biodiversity resource for the area and contains a number of habitats including woodland, hedgerows, meadows, a stream and a pond.

Species we've spotted include:

  • Bluebell, wild garlic, primrose, ox-eye daisy, yellow rattle and common spotted orchid
  • Fungi including cramp-ball, dung roundhead, fleecy milkcap and red cracking bolete
  • Badger
  • Slow worm
  • Eyebright and RedBartsia plants (these along with yellow rattle which is also present are hemi parasitic on grass which reduces the amount of grass and allows other wildflower species to thrive
  • Speckled brown, marbled white and comma butterflies

For more detailed information on access and the management see the documents below:

Download Management plan [PDF, 860KB]

Download Declaration [PDF, 1.91MB]

Download Habitat survey [PDF, 661KB]

Download Improvements map [PDF, 1.46MB]

Download Location map [PDF, 2.28MB]

Download Management activities map [PDF, 1.47MB]

Download Management unit map [PDF, 1.46MB]

Download Pathway maintenance map [PDF, 556KB]

Download Site features map [PDF, 452KB]

Download Site ownership map [PDF, 451KB]

Download Suggested access improvements map [PDF, 313KB]

Walks and features

  • Network of paths throughout the site
  • Pond and marshland area
  • Follow the purple route to reach the pond, the path surface is firm and mostly flat (five minute walk, about 500m)
  • Follow the orange route to cross the valley, the path has mostly firm, but has steep sections (20 minute walk, about 1km)
  • Follow the red route for a circular walk on firm paths, mostly flat but with some steep sections (steady 30 minutes walk, about 1.5km)
  • Join up with the Co-op Way, a 14-mile walk that runs around Plymouth, look out for waymarkers to show you the route
  • Benches throughout the reserve

Remember this is a Local Nature Reserve, please be considerate to wildlife and to other users:

  • Don't pick wild flowers or plants
  • Don't disturb animals
  • Take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under control
  • Keep dogs out of stream area
  • Clean up after your dogs
  • No camping
  • No motorbikes
  • No fires

Access

  • Steps and steep slopes at most entrances

Travel and directions

  • Two minutes walk from Derriford Roundabout
  • Adjacent to Blunts Lane, a Plymouth cycle route and part of the Co-op Way
  • Accessible using public transport with bus stops along Tavistock Road to the west of the reserve and Derriford Hospital to the north of the reserve
  • No official car park (some car parking available in nearby car parks)