Compton Pool Holiday Cottages in Devon


Compton Pool Holiday Cottages in Devon

Compton Pool Holiday Cottages in Devon

Compton Pool Holiday Cottages in Devon


Compton Pool Wildlife

Compton Pool is set in fourteen acres, consisting of grassland with a substantial area taken up by the wet woodland scrub known as Willow Carr. Interspersed in the carr are four large ponds which are fed by natural springs. Compton Pool is a complex of holiday cottages, each with their own outside seating area. The planters are kept simple, which when in flower will attract a plethora of insect life such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Look out for butterflies such as painted lady, tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral.

Willow Carr

The lawned area adjacent to the cottages has some shrubs and fruit trees, blackbird, robin and song thrush are regular visitors looking for earthworms, slugs and snails. In the autumn months particularly in the hedgerow behind the pigs, goats and rabbits, look out for flocks of house sparrows, chaffinches and greenfinches, which take advantage of the food put out for the animals.

The wet woodland area consists mainly of willow with some patches of alder, such as the trees that line one of the ponds. These tall distinctive trees have prominent catkins, the males being a reddish colour that are pendulous, whereas the females are dark brown and cone-like. The ground flora is a mix of ferns such as harts tongue, broad buckler, male, lady’s and hard fern. In the wet, damp areas the rounded bright green leaves and yellow flowers of Golden Saxifrage carpet the ground along with liverwort which can be found along the stream banks.

Willow Carr

The lawned area adjacent to the cottages has some shrubs and fruit trees, blackbird, robin and song thrush are regular visitors looking for earthworms, slugs and snails. In the autumn months particularly in the hedgerow behind the pigs, goats and rabbits, look out for flocks of house sparrows, chaffinches and greenfinches, which take advantage of the food put out for the animals.


The most striking part of the flora are the large upright stumps of the Tussock grass which can be seen all around this area, at dusk they could almost be mistaken for people standing amongst the trees!

Listen to the birdlife as you walk through the wooded area. The birdsong, particularly through the summer months when the bird population increases with the summer migrants, is a symphony to ones ears. There is plenty of bird activity in and around the site due to the habitat, all the common woodland birds can be seen such as blue, great and coal tit, blackbird, robin, greenfinch, chaffinch and nuthatch. Goldcrests can be heard high in the treetops and look out for a treecreeper climbing up the trunks of trees in search of insects. Through the winter months large parties of long tail tits are a regular sight flying one after another from tree to tree as if in a marching procession.

As you walk through the site, listen for the curt ‘chip’ of the greater spotted woodpecker or the unmistakeable ‘yaffle’ of the green woodpecker. The harsh squawk of the jay is a common sound particularly in the autumn when they are busily caching acorns for the winter. Some of the summer migrants include the fruity chortley song of the blackcap and the similar song of the garden warbler, the descending call of the willow warbler or the easily identified call of the chiffchaff (it sings its own name!).

Whitethroat, with its scratchy melodic call, can also be heard amongst the scrub and hedgerows. At night tawny owls are heard with their characteristic ‘kewick’ often followed by a ‘twooh’, they are regularly seen swooping along the lane by the car parking entrance.

Buzzards are a regular sight flying high on the thermals above the site and look for the characteristic flap, flap, glide of the sparrowhawk or the hovering of a kestrel over the surrounding farmland as it hunts for small mammals.

Jays are particularly noisy in the autumn when they are busily caching away acorns for the winter, watch them fly from tree to tree showing their splendid blue wing-flashes.

Through the summer months, the hirundine; swallows, swifts and house martins can all be seen high in the sky feeding on the plethora of insect life, as these birds leave in the autumn they are replaced by the winter migrants. Listen out for large flocks of redwing and fieldfare as they pass over looking for feeding grounds.


The long grass and vegetation such as the hemlock water dropwort and meadow sweet is an ideal place to look for invertebrates such as grasshoppers and crickets. Easily distinguished from each other by the length of their antennae. Grasshoppers have short, stubby antennae whereas those of the cricket are long and bend back over their body. Look out for the great bush cricket, which is a local specialty and reaches 8 cm at maturity.

Due to the dark nature of the woodland carr, butterflies are fewer in number. The edges and glades, wet meadows and the open grassland areas adjoining the woodland are more fruitful. Gatekeeper, ringlet, common blue, painted lady and clouded yellow are but some of the species to be seen.

The paths through the wet woodland lead you to each pond in turn, all of which have a slightly different character which means the diversity of the wildlife in the area is increased. There are four ponds in total, two have fish; carp, tench, rudd and roach.

The vegetation consists of yellow flag iris, marsh marigold, typha, fools water cress, water figwort and water mint. The ponds are regularly visited by the heron, which can be seen standing motionless ready to take an unsuspecting fish or frog. Look out for the electric blue flash of a kingfisher as it flies past often accompanied with its high pitched ‘peep peep’ call.

The branches of the alder and willow trees overhanging the ponds are excellent perching post for the kingfisher.

Moorhen can be seen scuttling in and out of the vegetation and dashing across the grassed areas and little grebe may also be seen particularly in the lily ponds. Mallards are a common sight too along with Canada geese and even little egret. Grey wagtails with their grey and yellow plumage can also be seen around the ponds.

The ponds are excellent habitat for the insects, diving beetles and freshwater hoglouse and shrimps and therefore the ideal home for reptiles and amphibians including frogs, toads, grass snakes and newts. There are plenty of tadpoles to be seen particularly in the lily ponds where on sunny days the shallower areas will be a black writhing mass.

Look out for the young grass snakes which are no thicker than a pencil, swimming across the water or slithering through the undergrowth. In the summer months look out for dragonflies and damselflies flying around the area.

Damselflies are daintier and fold their wings behind them at rest whereas dragonflies are much more robust and hold their wings out at rest. Damselflies such as blue-tailed, common blue and small and large red can be seen flying around along with dragonflies such as golden ringed, emperor, black tailed skimmer and southern hawker.

Look out for the beautiful demoiselle particularly by the running water of the stream. At first glance it could be mistaken for a butterfly due to its fluttering flight, it is in fact a damselfly. The male has a blue iridescent body with dark navy wings whereas the female has a green iridescent body and copper wings.
The hedgerows bottoms in the spring and summer are full of wildflowers such as foxglove, primrose, lesser stitchwort, lesser celandine, red campion, lords¬and-ladies, herb robert, garlic mustard, violet and wood sage. Many species of fern including hart’s tongue, hard shield-fern, male-fern, lady-fern, broad buckler and soft shield-fern can all be found in the hedgerows as well.

Autumn is a good time to look for fungus; many different types of fungi can be found on the dead wood in the hedgerows and carr, including orange peel fungus, dead man’s fingers and candle snuff fungus and on the woodland floor earthballs can be found, you may come across the putrid smell of the stink horn, they are hard to find as their smell travels some distance.

Species List

Trees and shrubs
Ash Annual meadow grass Blackbird 
Beech Bluebell Blackcap 
Black Alder Bramble Blue tit 
Blackthorn Burdock Buzzard 
Buddleia Cleavers Carrion crow 
Elder Cocksfoot Chaffinch 
Field Maple Ground Ivy Chiff chaff 
Hawthorn Giant hogweed Coal tit 
Hazel Common dog violet Coot 
Holly Cow parsley Dunnock 
Oak Creeping buttercup Fieldfare 
Rowan Creeping Thistle Garden warbler 
Scots pine Enchanters nightshade Goldfinch 
Silver Birch Honeysuckle Great tit 
Sweet chestnut Greater plantain Greater spotted woodpecker 
Wild cherry Greater sedge Green woodpecker 
Willow Herb Robert Greenf inch 
  Honeysuckle Grey wagtail 
 Herb Bennet House martin 
  Germander speedwell House sparrow 
Hard fern Ivy Jackdaw 
Harts tongue fern Lord and ladies Jay 
Lady fern Marsh marigold Kestrel 
Male fern Nettles Linnet 
Scaly male fern Primrose Little grebe 
  Red campion Long tail tit 
 Snowdrop Mallard 
  Timothy Marsh tit 
Bank vole Water figwort Meadow pipit 
Common shrew Water mint Mistle thrush 
baubentons bat Yellow flag iris Moorhen 
Field mouse Yorkshire fog Pied wagtail 
Hare   Raven 
Lesser horseshoe bat   Redwing 
Reptile & amphibians
Pipistrelle bat Common lizard Robin 
Rabbit Frog Rook 
Roe deer Grass snake Skylark 
Wood mouse Palmate newt Song thrush 
  Slow worm Sparrowhawk 
  Toad Stock dove 
    Tawny owl 
    Willow warbler 
    Yellow hammer