Surveying Butterflies – A Report from the Field

From 1st April to 30th September every year, volunteers all over the country conduct a Butterfly Transect study on a weekly basis. What is that you may well ask?  Well, in simple terms, its a weekly recording of butterfly numbers and species within a defined area, which has to be repeated exactly.  The records produced are sent to the United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), from which numbers and trends in number of UK butterflies can be analysed on aRead more

Soils go live at East Dartmoor NNR!

As many of us know, there is more to soil than meets the eye – and indeed, the answer really does lie in the soil.  The soils in the East Dartmoor area have been evolving for several thousand years. During the last Ice Age, this landscape was not glaciated, but tundra conditions prevailed and more recently, human influences, through land use changes have altered the soils. This is a perfect place to explore how soils vary across the landscape. WithRead more

The Water of Life

After a night of heavy rain, yet another Dartmoor deluge, I’m waiting in the Postbridge car park to meet David Leach. He is the Dartmoor Peatland Restoration Project Officer and, after introductions, we get kitted up for a two-mile trudge in full waterproofs to check on the progress of the South West Peatland Project, a habitat restoration project covering Dartmoor and the uplands of Exmoor and Bodmin Moor too. Our journey begins with a typically wintry walk, but conversation isRead more

King of Spring Returns

May is a month already bustling with weird and wonderful traditional customs celebrating Spring, so was there room in the calendar for a new one? Andy Bailey from Dartmoor’s Moor than meets the eye scheme believes so. On Sunday 19th at 11am, a small crowd started to gather at the entrance to Yarner Wood to mark the start of the Spring Woodland Festival. Andy was joined by a giant flying pied flycatcher, a band of merry musicians and colourful flockRead more

Bovey Beauties

“They flutter erratically through our lives like stray but familiar thoughts” Miriam Rothschild Everyone recognises a butterfly – the adult form of the Lepidoptera order of insects, the most iconic of our flying insects.  A flight, a rabble or a rainbow of butterflies – all collective nouns for butterflies – will bring an image to everyone’s minds. A rabble of speckled wood butterflies, perfectly demonstrates their male territorial behaviour in the woodland glades. But where does the name ‘butterfly’ come from?Read more

The Timber Trail – History in the Making

Weaving through the narrow lanes on western Dartmoor, I’m heading up a dead-end, single-track road. As I arrive at Lane End, the hard surfacing gives way to open windswept moorland. Oh no! I’ve gone too far! I need to go back and look for a small track … and there it is, guiding me between two age-old stone walls. It feels like I’m going back in time; this landscape has hardly changed in hundreds of years, but it is veryRead more