Bovey Beauties

“They flutter erratically through our lives like stray but familiar thoughts” Miriam Rothschild Everyone recognises a butterfly – the adult form of the Lepidoptera order of insects, the most iconic of our flying insects.  A flight, a rabble or a rainbow of butterflies – all collective nouns for butterflies – will bring an image to everyone’s minds. A rabble of speckled wood butterflies, perfectly demonstrates their male territorial behaviour in the woodland glades. But where does the name ‘butterfly’ come from?Read more

A Year at East Dartmoor

Looking out across the woods this morning it seems that spring is well on its way with lots of birdwatchers in the hides and brimstones on the wing. I have shared a year in the life of Yarner Wood and have watched it change through all of its four seasons. Of all the seasons’ spring is a time for new beginnings and for me that means a new start in Bristol. As I draw towards the end of my traineeshipRead more

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