Giving Lower Plants the Upper Hand

The mild, wet conditions in the south-west of England, brought about by the Gulf Stream and our proximity to the sea, have created perfect conditions for the establishment of Atlantic Woodlands. These moist, humid woods—also known as Celtic Rainforests—are brimming with lush green ferns, carpets of mosses and lichens covering tree trunks and hanging from the canopies. Building Resilience in South West Woodlands is a new Heritage Lottery-funded project—led by Plantlife—that addresses the challenges faced by the Atlantic woodlands ofRead more

Working Woodlands

In the dense broadleaf woodland of the Bovey Valley, tucked away on a south facing slope just above the river lies the remains of an old farmstead – Boveycombe Farm. The farmstead and field systems have records dating as far back as 1332 all the way up until the 1940’s when some of the fields were farmed for potatoes. Since then, the farm has become engulfed by the surrounding woodland. Myself, Daniel and Tristan (full time trainees at East DartmoorRead more

Winter Works in Yarner Wood …Update on the New Dam

As many regular visitors will be aware, this winter, Natural England are working on dismantling the old dam near the NNR office in Yarner Wood and rebuilding a fit for purpose new dam. The work was started in January with a May completion date. We are glad to say we are progressing well and slightly ahead of schedule and should complete the construction by mid April – we will keep you updated. Even when the work is complete, given theRead more

Timber! Tools, Trees and Tall Tales – Saturday 24 March

If you want to know what woodland conservation is all about, the Timber! Tools, Trees and Tall Tales event is for you. Hosted by the Woodland Trust and Natural England at Pullabrook Woods in the Bovey Valley the woodland open day will show you why we fell trees, what happens to the timber and how we manage the precious woodland habitats for some of our special wild species. This event will celebrate the use of both traditional wood skills andRead more

Crayfish Check: Initial Investigation for Invasives Shows All Clear

With works on the dam by the Yarner Office underway, now is a great time to enjoy the new bird hide on the reservoir; across the road from the Middle Trendlebere car park. The hide has been constructed by volunteers, with funding from the Moor than meets the eye scheme. As well as funding the hide, the scheme is also funding work to boost the reservoir’s wildlife value. In order to safeguard against the work disturbing important species, and toRead more

A Lichen Tor

Lichens are so omnipresent that few people stop to admire the incredible variety among them. I myself was guilty of paying them little more attention than a cursory glance, before I, with a team of other Natural Sciences undergraduates from the University of Exeter, teamed up with Natural England for one of our modules. Two of the key lichen species that we recorded at sites across Dartmoor – Usnea articulata (left) and Bryoria fuscescens  On our first venture to Dartmoor, weRead more

If you go down to the woods today…

…Please do not have a surprise! Due to essential works, from Monday 8 January, the vehicle access into Yarner Wood will be restricted over the coming winter months and into spring.  The main access will be via the Middle Trendlebere Car Park, grid reference SX783 792 (middle green circle on the map below). The driveway into Yarner Wood, off the Manaton-Bovey Tracey road, will be restricted to work traffic during this period. Owing to a non-functioning Victorian dam, Natural EnglandRead more

High above the Bovey Valley

From Yarner Woods in the south across Trendlebere Down, to the chain of woodlands along the Bovey Valley, the woods and heaths of East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve comprise a patchwork of habitats, that shelters an abundance of species.  The woods along the Bovey Valley include the riverside Pullabrook Wood, Hisley Wood that rises out of the valley and Houndtor Wood that sits on a steep ridge between the Becka Brook and the River Bovey. To truly understand this landscape youRead more

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