Sunny Side Up – part 10 of the Barbastelle Tracking Diary

A team of Woodland Trust and Natural England volunteers were back in action at the Bovey Valley Woods at the weekend. Their task on a bright spring day was to finish off hanging a set of bat roosting boxes in the trees along the Old Manaton Road. 40 boxes were already in place in Hisley Wood and along the river Bovey at Rudge Meadow, but this time, another 40 boxes were destined to be placed further along the Becka Brook.Read more

Return of the flycatcher …part 1

The pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca is a summer visitor to the UK, migrating north from Africa to breed in the upland oak woods of Dartmoor. Pied flycatchers are distinctive black and white birds and there was a tangible sense of anticipation, as we waited for the first sighting of these birds to be recorded at the Reserve this year. On 5 April two male flycatchers were spotted in Yarner Wood. Their population have been monitored at East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve forRead more

Bats & Ladders – part 9 of the Barbastelle Tracking Diary

On an April morning the spring sunshine lit up Yarner Woods, the bare oak branches of the ancient woodland reached into the chalky blue sky. A group of volunteers gathered at the Woodland Centre, reminiscing about the previous summer, tagging and tracking the rare barbastelle bats. Standing outside the classroom window, memories were instantly recalled. “It was only a year ago when we all got together in there. We knew nothing about barbastelles then”. Talk of various bat species, mistRead more

Muir on the Moor: Forest School for College Students

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir Exeter College Apex students recently discovered, debated, tested and explored this concept in great detail when they embarked on a programme of Forest School sessions. Having already been volunteering and gaining work experience at East Dartmoor over the winter, they decided to look at the Reserve in greater depth and take on new and exciting challenges. The JohnRead more

Woodland Restoration for Everybody

The ongoing restoration of the Bovey Valley Woods provides many opportunities for people to join in – a chance to play a part in reviving the ancient woodland in Dartmoor’s eastern valleys. Some areas of the timber plantations along the valley have been dominated by conifers for decades and the remnants of wild broadleaves have struggled to survive in the heavy shade. To give these wild woodland species a helping hand, a set of experimental fenced areas are being plantedRead more

Science of Soils

Next time you walk through a wood, pause for a moment to pay attention to the soil beneath your feet. Not just watching out for muddy patches, but trying to visualise the layers that cover the whole site like marzipan on a cake. Often you can see the soil exposed in small cliffs by paths or streams. By understanding the soil profile you gain a deep insight into the wood’s history and can often predict flora and fungi found there. The latest issue of Wood Wise delvesRead more