From Wood to Moor – a Dartmoor Conservation Story (chapter 1)

When you walk through the wooded fringes of Dartmoor you may occasionally hear the rasp of a chainsaw followed by the thud of falling conifer trees. You may sometimes stroll by a stack of timber, perhaps wondering what that pile of logs could be used for. Following that train of thought, you might perhaps ask yourself the question, “Why are they cutting down these trees? Isn’t that a bit destructive?” Well, in many of these woodlands there is a plan,Read more

Elm on the Edge

The story of the wych elm trees in the Bovey Valley Woods has reached its final chapter. The volunteers of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve began the adventure began back in 2016 when a hunt for the diminished population of elms took a painstakingly methodical route through the woods to find these elusive trees. The first stage of the project required the individual trees to be found, assessed for health, recorded and plotted on a map because, before thisRead more

One for the Record – Bovey Beauty 2018

The Bovey Beauty 10-mile fell race is becoming more popular by the year and, in September 2018, the number of entrants at the start line was a record 65. Though the forecast predicted wet and breezy conditions at the Pullabrook Woods start point, the race day weather was expected to clear and, sure enough, the Dartmoor weather obliged.   Following the Old Manaton Road and over the River Bovey at Hisley Bridge, the runners tackled the long, steady climb throughRead more

At Home in the Woods

A colony of rare barbastelle bats, living in the woodlands of the Bovey Valley, has been studied over recent years by researchers from the University of Bristol. Now their detailed work has been published, we can fly through its many paragraphs, results and recommendations to glean an understanding of how woodland bat species make best use of feeding and roosting opportunities among the ancient oak woods. The shelter and protection offered to this ‘near threatened’ species (see IUCN Red List) from the roostsRead more

Sound and Vision – A New View of the Behaviour of Woodland Bats

The colony of rare barbastelle bats in the woods of the Bovey Valley has been the subject of active research over recent years. This work has used radio tracking technology to monitor the movements of the bats between roost sites in the oak woods and their foraging grounds along hedges, woodland edges and rivers. Revealing discoveries of the species’ roosts have shown which areas of ancient woodland, and which cracks and crevasses, are preferred by the barbastelle, giving the natureRead more

Crucial Connections – Lichen on Wood Banks

Volunteers in the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve have been taking the chance to do some real science; citizen science that is going to contribute to a better understanding of lichens across the ancient woodlands of the South West. The “Atlantic” woodlands around Dartmoor are under pressure and, in some areas, becoming isolated or disconnected from each other. But there are some remnants of ancient woodland, draped like threads across the landscape that provide a lifeline of natural habitat betweenRead more