Protecting the Bluebell Woods from Big Old Foot

Quietly unfolding in the woods around us is one of nature’s spectacles – for just a few weeks in May, Dartmoor’s woodlands are carpeted in a haze of bluebells.  This spring the Woodland Trust has looked to the latest technology, to encourage families to explore some of the best bluebell woods, using downloadable Follow the Fairies family trails. Many of Dartmoor’s woodlands have a mystical quality and at this time of year the woods are carpeted in a thick layer of mosses and ferns and lushRead more

Pearls of Wisdom

Thursday was definitely not ideal butterfly weather- cold and wet –which was a shame after such a beautiful start to May. But a brave bunch of us gathered in the beautiful location of Yarner Woods at the Woodland Centre to meet Megan Lowe from Butterfly Conservation and to learn more about the ecology and field identification of two of our early rare moorland butterflies the pearl bordered and small pearl bordered fritillary Over the sometimes torrential rain which threatened toRead more

Up with the birds

Fresh off the back of the Woodland festival lectures was a chance for people to get out and visit the National Nature Reserve and see some of the wildlife we’d been talking about the day before. Billed as a Beginners guide to the Dawn chorus this was definitely a more gentle way to ease us into the joys of early morning birdsong with a relatively leisurely 7am start. We were greeted by gentle sunshine easing through the trees and creatingRead more

Understanding Dartmoor’s woodlands

At this time of year the suggestion that a bunch of naturalists should spend time indoors is usually met with derision. Why be inside when you can be out and about watching Spring burst into action. So it was with a little trepidation that we decided to hold our first Woodland Festival Lectures programme at the National Park headquarters at Parke on Saturday right in the middle of the season. We needn’t have worried. There was a real appetite toRead more

Finding Treasure: Heritage and Wildlife of the Bovey Valley

The wildlife of the Bovey Valley has adapted to human influences for thousands of years, and today, there are many clues in the landscape showing where and how our ancestors have lived, side-by-side with nature for millennia. Remains of stone buildings from prehistoric and medieval times are scattered through the valley and recent studies have recorded where enclosures and boundaries defined different land uses. Further work by archaeologists continues to tell the story of human habitation in the Bovey which,Read more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – the final day

Today was our last day on site at Vinnimore and what a week it’s been.  We had a steady trickle of visitors throughout the day who came to the open day – some were just passing through and others had made a special journey to see the excavation taking place.  Jane, Kate and Dave from the Woodland Trust, DNPA archaeologist Andy Crabb and myself and Andy from Moor than meets the eye were on hand to greet visitors, explain theRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 5

There was a real sense of anticipation and excitement on site today as we approach the end of the dig and begin preparations for the open day tomorrow.  As the weather was milder, the midges were out in full force which made working conditions a little difficult at times.  Fortunately, our volunteers are a resilient and hardy bunch who aren’t to be put off by swarms of these tiny insects. John and Marc from Oakford Archaeology began the process ofRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 4

Today we were joined by over 50 pupils form Widecombe and Blackpool primary schools who have helped out with the excavation with great enthusiasm! They also enjoyed a guided walk through the surrounding woodlands to explore the remains of Boveycombe Farm and learn about the ever-changing woodland landscape. Many thanks to the pupils and their teachers for paying us a visit! In what we now think is the kitchen for the dwelling, work was focussed on removing tumble around theRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 3

  Another fantastic day on site and we are now already half way through the excavation. It is quite amazing what twelve volunteers can achieve in that amount of time! Despite the chilly start everyone were soon working hard to reveal yet more fascinating features about the site.  The two main areas of progress to report on today include the discovery of a second, rather fine fire place and, at last, a small area of surviving flooring. The fireplace hasRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 2

Day two and the sun was still shining despite the forecast of rain, although diggers were subjected to a blast of sleet after the lunchbreak, which came as a bit of a surprise.  A further trench was opened this morning, with the arrival of three further volunteers, bringing the total number of trenches to four.  Within a couple of hours finds started to emerge, including pottery, but also some fragments of burnt deposits and a few pieces of ironwork. DespiteRead more