Lee Abbey Devon is home to a Christian community that hosts a conference, retreat and holiday centre on the dramatic North Devon coast, where individuals and groups come to be renewed and inspired by God. We often say here that Lee Abbey is a place where visitors and community members can go deeper into the countryside, deeper into community, and deeper into God.

At Lee Abbey Devon, we aim to communicate Christ through relationships. We believe that a right relationship with the environment is part of our Christian life with God the Creator, and that we have a responsibility to live in a way that respects and cares for the world around us.

Since 2008 Lee Abbey has been working with A Rocha UK to:

  • monitor and document wildlife on the Lee Abbey Estate
  • improve the management of Lee Abbey in a way that respects God’s creation
  • reduce Lee Abbey’s carbon and resource footprints
  • engage guests and community members with environmental issues

At Lee Abbey we are blessed to live in stunning surroundings. Our 280 acre estate contains woodland, pasture, streams, cliffs and our own beach. The woods and cliffs are part of the West Exmoor Coast. We have is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); valuable for its ancient sessile oak woods, and wide variety of ferns and lichens which thrive in the clean sea air. The estate provides habitat for rare birds like spotted and pied flycatchers, redstarts and peregrine falcons which nest along the cliffs. Porpoises are often spotted in the bay. Exmoor National Park is now an International Dark Skies Reserve, and the view upon a clear night is breathtaking with the Milky Way and numerous constellations gracing the sky.

The Lee Abbey estate team and regular volunteer parties work hard to care for the estate. We remove invasive species like rhododendron, manage the woodlands to be as natural as possible, and care for our cattle and sheep with minimal pesticides so that our pastures provide habitats for insects, mammals and birds. Several of the buildings around the house and estate provide roosting opportunities for bats, including a large maternity colony of lesser horseshoe bats.

In addition to wildlife conservation and habitat creation around the estate Lee Abbey is also constantly looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and resource use. In 2013 we commissioned a hydro electricity generating station which should provide a quarter to a third of our annual electricity use. We have recently topped up our loft insulation to reduce our heating fuel use, and have begun installing LED lighting to replace higher energy bulbs. Future projects will include installation of biomass boilers and solar panels.

We aim to give opportunities for our guests and community members to re-connect with the wonder of creation, from the smallest insect to the most expansive views, eating some of our own beef and lamb to weeding our herb garden, walking along some of our six miles of footpath to collecting shells on the beach as the waves crash on the shore, we seek to make space where God can speak and touch us through the world we share with all creation. For more information please see our Lee Abbey Website, or contact Rachel Oates via environmental@leeabbey.org.uk.