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 the number of staff and volunteers using the work base, we will be encouraging visitors to use the car parks on Trendlebere Down for access into Yarner Wood.
As you will know, if you have visited during the period of the works, the driveway into Yarner Wood off the Manaton-Bovey Tracey road is restricted access, but all the routes in and around Yarner Wood, except the dam crossing, are open and accessible. While the vehicle access into Yarner Wood has been restricted, the main access for visitors and staff has been via the Middle Trendlebere Car Park (grid reference SX783 792, middle green circle on the map below).
If you are visiting over the coming weeks, it is worth noting that the woodland edge between Trendlebere and Yarner Wood is the best place to see early spring birds, especially woodpeckers. Also, for those that do not know, we have opened up a new hide that looks over the old reservoir – to visit the hide, turn left as you enter Yarner Wood, the hide can be found on the left, up a gentle slope off the main track. Kingfishers have regularly been seen here and mandarin ducks are nesting.
When the dam construction is complete the pond upstream of the dam will convert back to the old course of the Woodcock Stream, we believe this will enhance the habitat and benefit the associated species such as birds (particularly grey wagtails), fresh water invertebrates and even lower plants. The contractors are trying to recreate more of the splash habitat needed by the latter species.
If you require any further detail regarding the dam construction project – please contact Tim Brodie James on 07887 823015, Nik Ward on 07799583446 or the reserve work base on 01626 832 330.