A Woodland Cycle of Renewal

February is a month of lighter mornings and lengthening days, bringing an innate sense that, though we have not seen the last of the frost and snow, a new cycle of renewal is beginning. Some days have that fresh smell of sunlight warming the cold earth, where hints of spring emerge, raising flashes of yellow celandine and spears of green bluebell leaves that break through last year’s leaf litter. Nature’s inevitable cycle starts an annual awakening of wildlife but carriesRead more

Nature’s Grand Recycling Plan

Spring is just around the corner and it is our last chance to appreciate the bare trees and the amount of dead wood left in East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Here we understand the value of these carbon stores and the wildlife value they hold: a dead tree creates a gap in the canopy for the next generation of trees to grow; the leaf litter created in autumn by fallen leaves is a valuable food source and habitat, and ifRead more

An Industrious Rural Landscape

Devon’s landscapes are often considered to be among the most beautiful and diverse in the country. From the wind-swept moors and steep river valleys of Dartmoor, rolling through the lush green hills of south Devon to the towns, estuaries and beaches along the sparkling coast, there is a timeless quality to this wonderful county. But it hasn’t always looked like this. In fact, it’s never stopped changing through thousands of years where human endeavours have marked the landscape. Mineral extraction,Read more

A Kaleidoscope of Colour – Wildlife watching in 2020

As the world seems grey as we enter the new year, both literally and metaphorically, now seems a good time to try and bring some colour into our lives. I understand that some people have chosen to keep their Christmas lights and decorations on during January to lift people’s spirits. They are in good company alongside English Heritage and Durham and Salisbury cathedrals keeping to the medieval tradition of celebrating through till Candlemass on the 2nd February. My contribution toRead more

Nature’s Architectural Branches

Without the leaves on the trees, a different set of views is being revealed across East Dartmoor and our local greenspaces. From smooth barks, to ones covered in lichen; from interlocking dense hedgerows to solitary trees; from picture perfect shapes to the craggy hollows in mature trees, the beautiful architecture of branches is reaching for the sky. Abundant acorns If you’ve watched Autumnwatch, or been monitoring your local oaks, you’ll be aware of the huge number of acorns this year.Read more

Woodland Management – Honing the Technique

Woodland restoration is an evolving technique based on both science and what is known about the local conditions in each individual wood. The Bovey Valley Woods are a good case in point as they are varied in their species makeup and located on Dartmoor, where steep ground and high humidity are typical. Continuous Cover Forestry is a form of ecological forest management, where the character of the woodland is gradually changed from one where planted conifers dominate the landscape, toRead more