Veteranisation – Bat Conservation and Old Wood Features

Back in March 2020, the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) had organised a Woodland Bat Symposium at the WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking, Surrey. Only days before the battiest people from across the country were due to meet and share the latest news on bats in woodland habitats, the national conference was postponed – the first Covid-19 lockdown was around the corner. I was due to attend the conference to present a talk about how the Woodland Trust has beenRead more

A Woodland Cycle of Renewal

February is a month of lighter mornings and lengthening days, bringing an innate sense that, though we have not seen the last of the frost and snow, a new cycle of renewal is beginning. Some days have that fresh smell of sunlight warming the cold earth, where hints of spring emerge, raising flashes of yellow celandine and spears of green bluebell leaves that break through last year’s leaf litter. Nature’s inevitable cycle starts an annual awakening of wildlife but carriesRead more

An Industrious Rural Landscape

Devon’s landscapes are often considered to be among the most beautiful and diverse in the country. From the wind-swept moors and steep river valleys of Dartmoor, rolling through the lush green hills of south Devon to the towns, estuaries and beaches along the sparkling coast, there is a timeless quality to this wonderful county. But it hasn’t always looked like this. In fact, it’s never stopped changing through thousands of years where human endeavours have marked the landscape. Mineral extraction,Read more

Woodland Management – Honing the Technique

Woodland restoration is an evolving technique based on both science and what is known about the local conditions in each individual wood. The Bovey Valley Woods are a good case in point as they are varied in their species makeup and located on Dartmoor, where steep ground and high humidity are typical. Continuous Cover Forestry is a form of ecological forest management, where the character of the woodland is gradually changed from one where planted conifers dominate the landscape, toRead more

A Growing Problem

The view along the Bovey Valley Woods is a dramatic scene that makes many passers-by stop and stare. Taking time to absorb this spectacle is one of the great pleasures of Dartmoor. It is one of those iconic panoramas of the eastern moor where the sweeping skyline of Lustleigh Cleave provides a bold and rocky backdrop for the diverse, soft patterns and colours of the tree cover that sweeps along the valley. Breath-taking at any time of year. But recently,Read more

Autumn Works in the Bovey Valley Woods

As the shades of summer green start to fade, the cooling autumn air brings a final flurry of activity before the woods of the Bovey Valley settle down for winter. Bird nesting season is over and, for some woodland mammals, food caches are building. For others, hibernation has yet to begin, making this the perfect time between the seasons for some carefully planned woodland habitat management work. This steep and scenic valley is home to many interesting species including theRead more