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

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

Shades of Light & Dark

The varied chain of woodlands along the Bovey Valley are among the significant habitat features of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve (NNR). They also form part of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). These classifications aren’t handed out lightly; they are only bestowed on places where local wildlife is a priority, where there is something of note that is so remarkable that we need to protect it and conserve it forRead more