There is still a Forest on the Hill

Thanks to Natural England and its predecessors, Yarner Wood is still a forest (well, a wood) on a hill. It still mainly consists of sessile oak woodland with a rowan understory and bilberry field layer, as it was when it was bought 70 years ago and made a National Nature Reserve (NNR) in May 1952. This made it one of the first NNR’s to be declared. Now Yarner Wood lies within a wider resilient landscape including the addition of BoveyRead more

DIY Rainforest Restoration

On a blustery, wet Wednesday in the wake of ‘Storm Arwen’ more than 20 attendees, including landowners and woodland managers joined Plantlife, Natural England and the Woodland Trust for a participatory demonstration workshop on restoring habitats for rare communities of lichens and bryophytes. The high levels of rainfall and humid conditions the group endured was testimony to why the west coast of Britain supports one of the world’s rarest woodland habitats, temperate rainforest. The National Lottery Heritage funded partnership projectRead more

Winter Works at Bovey Valley Woods 2021-22

The gradual transformation of the woodland landscape in the Bovey Valley Woods is making progress again this autumn and winter. This year, as usual, small groups of conifers have been selected for felling in different zones around Hisley and Pullabrook Woods to improve diversity of woodland structure and habitat. This technique of staged annual small-scale tree felling operations is proving to be beneficial to both the biodiversity and the landscape of this beautiful river valley as it can produce aRead more

Helping Hands to Help Heathland

Students from Exeter College’s Supported Internship Programme spent two days this autumn working with Natural England to protect an important heathland area at East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve. They gained new skills, while helping to conserve the environment – this blog describes their time at the Reserve. We learnt about the importance of protecting heathland areas because it provides habitat for a variety of species such as the Nightjar. This rare bird travels from Africa in AprilRead more

The Kingdom Under the Woods

There’s another world beneath the trees that like many essential backroom functions is hidden and shrouded in mystery. It is the kingdom of the fungi, and the autumn is a great time to see them. The power of a name Mushrooms and toadstools are the fruiting spores of fungi and the distinction between them first appeared in print in the mid fifteenth century and reflects the dilemma about what is and isn’t safe to eat. So, while mushrooms were definedRead more

Free the Oak Trees – Green Recovery

If you start to read about “Green Recovery” you are likely to see the term being used to describe many worthy causes but, you may be left thinking, “what is it all about?”. One good example is the Green Recovery Challenge Fund; set up to “… kick-start environmental renewal whilst creating and retaining a range of jobs. It is open to environmental charities and their partners to deliver projects in England. The aim of the fund is to support projectsRead more