On a Winter’s Day

All the leaves were down and the sky was grey, we went for a soils walk on a winter’s day… On the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve we joined soil specialist, Rob Parkinson, to look at what is going on below the leaves – in the soils around Haytor and Yarner Wood. Following the route of a new walking trail, we looked at how soils are formed, and how the soils’ physical and chemical properties can be determined by theRead more

Letting in the Light

This summer and autumn, a group of volunteers have been  assisting Dr Alison Smith from Plantlife, to carry out a citizen science survey of some of the ancient woodland boundaries in the Bovey Valley. They have been recording the lichens found growing on the ancient oaks that span some of the old boundaries and they have been helping to photograph the canopy cover of the trees, using a 360 degree fisheye lens camera. These photographs can be used to measure the amount of light reachingRead more

Celebrating Fungi at East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve

Here at Yarner Wood we are treated to a wonderful array of habitats for plant and animal species. Visitors come from far and wide to observe breeding migratory birds like the pied flycatcher. Lichenologists can be fascinated for hours by the specimens growing thick on the old oaks of Yarner Wood and the Bovey Valley. However, there is one often overlooked kingdom that grows abundantly across the reserve.  Spending most of the year underground, for a few short months theyRead more

A Tour of East Dartmoor

The Conservation Assistants recently led a guided tour of the National Nature Reserve (NNR) for the Dartmoor National Park apprentices.  This was a chance for them to see what the trainee scheme at East Dartmoor NNR is all about, and for both sides to network, sharing experiences and knowledge. I was invited to go along as a new volunteer, so I could get to know the National Nature Reserve and also get an overview of the sort of activities goingRead more

A Year in Yarner

In searching the waterways for signs of otters, Natural England volunteer, Emma, has been discovering the beauty of Yarner Wood as it changes through the seasons… For the last year I have been volunteering as part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve otter survey team, visiting the woods on a regular basis to look for signs of otters on and around the rivers, streams and leats that braid their way across the landscape. Visiting the same places through theRead more

Work to the Reservoir Starts!

Slightly hidden but only a short walk into Yarner Woods, lies the reservoir. It’s a popular place to sit and watch waterfowl species, such as the mandarin ducks, and on the sunny autumn days we have been having recently, it’s easy to overlook that underneath the surface of the water, it’s an ecosystem that’s not performing at its best. Results of a recent fish survey suggested its waters are deprived of nutrients, a condition known as ‘oligotrophic’. Fish were foundRead more