Lichens – Dartmoor’s Hidden Gems

During the winter, when the leaves fall off trees, these small sometimes unseen beauties can be better appreciated, though they can be seen all the year round. Although they can grow on almost any surface; rock, metal, glass, plastic, walls, bone, leather, paint, fences, pavements, soil, rocks, grave stones, old houses – it is on the trees in the internationally important Atlantic / upland western oak woodland that they are most renowned. Dartmoor is one of the best places toRead more

Five in one, half a dozen in the other!

You would be hard-pressed to find a more vibrant display of natural life than a family of dormice launching themselves, as if spring-loaded, out of their nesting box. This isn’t an uncommon sight when checking the nesting boxes that have been nestled away in the hazel coppice within Hisley Woods. At peak nesting season in September an impressive eighteen dormice were observed in one days monitoring, with two boxes hosting entire families numbering five and six individuals! After being weighed,Read more

No Boundaries – Broader Horizons

The wonderful wildlife of the eastern side of Dartmoor is not just found within the boundaries of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Species of plants and animals often find places that suit their requirements in the surrounding fields, heaths and woods. The nature reserve managers, Natural England and the Woodland Trust, frequently work with neighbouring landowners to monitor and improve the habitats around this beautiful part of the moor. For example, in recent years, researchers from the University ofRead more

The Mighty Oak

The oak has for centuries been a national symbol of strength and durability. The mightiest oaks can live for over 800 years old, which has earned them their reputation as a solid and dependable place to shelter and as an icon of reliability.  They stand firmly rooted in both folklore, and the landscape around us. So today, to mark the launch of a new Charter for Trees, 800 years to the day from the signing of the original Charter of the Forest,Read more

East Dartmoor’s Mires

East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve contains a diverse mosaic of habitats across its 365 hectares. One habitat type that can sometimes be overlooked amongst the larger, more conspicuous woodlands and heaths are the mires. Mires are wet and acidic habitats dominated by layers of partially decayed vegetation, known as peat, often 0.5 – 3.0 m deep. Hidden amongst combes or on the open moors, mires include rain-fed blanket bogs and valley-positioned fens which receive their water and mineral-supply from bothRead more

Hours of Frustration and Fun: The Joys of Moth Trapping

“Hours of Frustration and Fun” – this was the description given to me by a ‘mother’ last month, at a moth identification event in Yarner Wood.  In the world of Lepidoptera a mother (moth er) is someone who records moth species – either in the field or in a non-lethal light trap. There are approximately 2,500 species of moths in the UK – compared to 59 species of butterfly – and unbeknown to many owners an average garden can host 100Read more

Counting butterflies

As the butterfly season draws to a close, butterfly surveyor Janet Ritchie reflects on the 2017 survey season and the all important Dartmoor weather… The regular butterfly transect through Yarner Wood takes place every week from April 1st to September 30th. The same timed walking route is used for long-term comparisons over the years. One of the main weekly considerations is the weather, the temperature has to be between 13-17 degrees and not when it’s windy. This keeps us focusedRead more

Bovey Beauty – a clear winner on a foggy day

This year’s Bovey Beauty, the 10 mile fell race up, down and around the beautiful valley of the River Bovey was run on Sunday 24th September and, according to race organiser Dave Rickwood, was the “best one yet”. With the largest field ever to enter the race, records were broken and runners from all around Devon, Dorset and Cornwall rose to the challenge of this Grade ‘B’ course. The route passes through some of the most rugged and remote areasRead more

Night of the Moths Lantern Walk is Cancelled

If you were attending the Lantern Walk this Saturday 30th September, this is an important message from the event organisors. We are really sorry but we have had to cancel tomorrow night’s Night of the Moths Lantern Walk due to the torrential rain forecast for the evening, which would make the event very unpleasant and potentially unsafe for everyone. We are gutted to have to make the decision, but hope to see you all soon. We have been unable to findRead more