Transforming the Reservoir – Work Completed!

Starting work in December, a small team have been busy installing floating rafts, planting willow and felling trees around the reservoir in Yarner Wood. The reservoir has been transformed from the straight edged concrete pool that was once uninviting to people and wildlife. This is an overview of the management work that has taken place in this watery corner of the National Nature Reserve. American signal crayfish surveys – good news!As mentioned in the previous blog, the focus in autumnRead more

A Year at East Dartmoor

Looking out across the woods this morning it seems that spring is well on its way with lots of birdwatchers in the hides and brimstones on the wing. I have shared a year in the life of Yarner Wood and have watched it change through all of its four seasons. Of all the seasons’ spring is a time for new beginnings and for me that means a new start in Bristol. As I draw towards the end of my traineeshipRead more

A Win-Win for Nature

Woodland restoration is a slow process requiring a determined approach and, with good planning and dedication, Houndtor Woods in the Bovey Valley is showing real signs of progress. For decades, the dense cover of introduced conifer trees has been casting shade over the ancient woodland soil below, suppressing the wild flowers and reducing the range of insects and birds that once thrived there. To remedy this habitat conservation problem, the Woodland Trust is using a step-by-step method; thinning out theRead more

Sprucing Up Houndtor Ridge

During a spell of sparkling weather in February a few hints of Spring began to show in Houndtor Wood. This south facing sun trap was once an ancient woodland, part of the network of Atlantic ‘temperate rainforest’ that is native to the western side of Britain but, since the 1950s, has been cleared and planted with a timber crop. These conifer species include Sitka spruce, western red cedar and Douglas fir, all introduced from the west coast of North America.Read more

Wood Ants in the Winter

Ants are the most numerous creatures on the planet and there are many millions of them living around the woods of East Dartmoor, but why is the species of red wood ant (Formica rufa) such an important part of our woodland ecosystem? These wood ants that build the familiar ‘thatched’ nests are a familiar sight during the summer and, occasionally, it can be quite difficult to find a place to stand where these centimetre centurions aren’t crawling all over yourRead more

On a Winter’s Day

All the leaves were down and the sky was grey, we went for a soils walk on a winter’s day… On the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve we joined soil specialist, Rob Parkinson, to look at what is going on below the leaves – in the soils around Haytor and Yarner Wood. Following the route of a new walking trail, we looked at how soils are formed, and how the soils’ physical and chemical properties can be determined by theRead more