Helping Hands to Help Heathland

Students from Exeter College’s Supported Internship Programme spent two days this autumn working with Natural England to protect an important heathland area at East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve. They gained new skills, while helping to conserve the environment – this blog describes their time at the Reserve. We learnt about the importance of protecting heathland areas because it provides habitat for a variety of species such as the Nightjar. This rare bird travels from Africa in AprilRead more

The Ash Bud Moth and Woodland Connectivity

Fragmentation of habitat plays a major role in the decline of species and, as ecological research seeks for more evidence of the changing conditions across a wider landscape, increasing problems from the spread of tree diseases are adding to these threats to survival. In some cases, there is an obvious, visible isolation of trees and woodlands but we must also consider the less apparent isolation of some of the small but vital species that rely on those trees. Some wildRead more

Wood Ants – the world beneath your feet

The distinctive thatched domes of wood ant nests are a ubiquitous part of the National Nature Reserve (NNR) landscape, frequently ignored or the cause of mild distress if you unknowingly stand within a foraging route on a woodland track. They may be one of life’s ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ as despite being locally common across England and Wales there are real concerns about contraction of red wood ant populations. So a timely look at theRead more

Health and Wellbeing

‘Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity’John Muir 19th Century Scottish environmentalist At the most basic level human health and wellbeing is dependent on the goods and services of the environment: air, food, shelter and water. In addition, the importance to our physical and mental wellbeing of spending time within the natural environment has been recognised since ancient times and is seen of increasingRead more

TIMBER! Tells a Story

On a rare dry Dartmoor day, the Timber! celebration took place, once again, at Pullabrook Wood in the Bovey Valley. As before, it was hosted by the Woodland Trust and Natural England but, this year, recent storms and floods have left the woods feeling a bit damp, though a healthy turn out of visitors got together to enjoy and learn about the conservation management of the Bovey Valley Woods. Restoration of plantation woodlands is a complicated process and this specialRead 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