Lighting up the Darkness

Following pre and post-management surveying along Bovey Valley wood’s ancient banks and boundaries in August 2020 (Back in the Bovey blog), professional habitat-management contractors working for the Woodland Trust and Natural England have been selectively clearing holly, beech and sycamore to bring back the light to the woodland understorey, as part of Plantlife’s ‘Building Resilience in South West Woodlands’ project. Without management, many of these ancient boundaries have become over-grown with shading tree species which can become invasive if notRead more

Building Resilience Back in the Bovey

This August saw the return of Plantlife’s Building Resilience in the South-West project to Bovey Valley woods. In partnership with the Woodland Trust and Natural England, this National Lottery Heritage Fund funded project has seen the valleys historic field boundaries surveyed and managed, to increase their habitat value for the many rare lichen species they support. In previous years, the surveys have been carried out with the help of citizen science volunteers from the local community, gathering data on lightRead more

New Year: A Reflection On Changes

It’s a new year, with new plans and resolutions, the time of year where we think about changes we can make to ensure this year is the best one yet. Holly and ivy, evergreen plants, are symbols of new life, said by some to offer protection from entities that may wish us harm going into this new year.  In their natural woodland home, they play other more complex roles. You may have noticed, that they too have been impacted byRead more

A ‘Light’ Introduction

Regular visitors to East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve (NNR) may have noticed a new face around the place. That’s me! My name is Emily Weeks and I am a placement student with Plantlife, but I will be spending quite a bit of time here at Yarner Wood. I spent much of my childhood outdoors, my family having a great appreciation for the natural world. Many a day was spent in National Trust gardens and walking trails though woods, which noRead more

My Lichen Summer School

Visitors might be drawn in by the birds, bats and butterflies, or even the possibility of seeing an elusive otter, but the Bovey Valley, in the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve is also renowned for its more unassuming residents, an internationally renowned lichen population. Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between a fungus, and at least one photosynthetic partner, usually an alga. They can colonise almost anywhere, but it’s the tree-dwellers which are attracting the attention of conservationists, as part ofRead 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