What’s new with Marmaduke and his herd?

There have been some big changes recently on the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Sadly in March one of our residential Dartmoor ponies, Pignut, passed away. This has left the reserve with a herd of thirteen ponies, who are an integral component of conserving the woods and heath. These ponies are well-loved by our staff, but they are maintained as semi-feral to ensure they are focused on the task of maintaining the reserve, rather than being too interested in ourRead more

Yarner’s Butterfly Transect

Butterfly transects are a well-established way of recording our wildlife. The Yarner Wood transect has been monitored since 1976 and is an important part of our Long-term Monitoring Network. We walk this transect weekly, for six months of the year, from April 1st to September 30th. Which species and how many of each we see, varies widely. So far this year, in one week there was just one butterfly flying; another week 29 were counted, across five different species. The largestRead more

Wildlife All Nighter

On the 16th June seven volunteers and staff  from Natural England (NE) and the Woodland Trust (WT) met up at Trendlebere Down for a “Wildlife All Nighter” in and around the Bovey Valley.  The intention was to spend the night on a variety of tasks, mainly to record activity that isn’t possible during normal daytime conservation.  We were based around Hisley and Rudge Meadow, courtesy of NE and WT, with the idea of making no impact on the local environmentRead more

Burying a Body in the Woods

It may sound a little macabre but, while you are out walking through the beautiful Dartmoor woodlands, how often do you turn your thoughts to the grisly job of burying a body? Alongside all the fascinating forms of woodland wildlife, there is a darker, morbid side, which is an essential part of the cycle of life. While springtime brings an abundance of new life, survival in the wild is a case of taking your chances when there are both winnersRead more

A Cut Above the Rest

Hidden away in the rolling meadows above Bovey Tracey a champion is preparing to challenge some of the best foresters in the world. Richard Elliott, a groundsman, has been involved in chainsaw logging competitions since 1986, when he entered a contest at the Devon County Show. Since then, he has honed his skills and has earned the accolade of UK logging champion 16 times in all. To reach this standard of expertise, he needs to prepare for five different disciplinesRead more

Shades of Light & Dark

The varied chain of woodlands along the Bovey Valley are among the significant habitat features of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve (NNR). They also form part of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). These classifications aren’t handed out lightly; they are only bestowed on places where local wildlife is a priority, where there is something of note that is so remarkable that we need to protect it and conserve it forRead more