Life in the Canopy

Since its designation in the 1950’s the diverse habitats and wildlife of East Dartmoor NNR have been studied by scientists with an interest in ecology.  But to study life in the canopy, takes both a strong head for heights and some highly specialised equipment. However a team at Plymouth University have become highly skilled at working in this challenging environment. Each year Biological and Environmental Science students from Plymouth University, visit the tropical forests of Borneo, to study the highRead more

Protecting the Bluebell Woods from Big Old Foot

Quietly unfolding in the woods around us is one of nature’s spectacles – for just a few weeks in May, Dartmoor’s woodlands are carpeted in a haze of bluebells.  This spring the Woodland Trust has looked to the latest technology, to encourage families to explore some of the best bluebell woods, using downloadable Follow the Fairies family trails. Many of Dartmoor’s woodlands have a mystical quality and at this time of year the woods are carpeted in a thick layer of mosses and ferns and lushRead more

Pearls of Wisdom

Thursday was definitely not ideal butterfly weather- cold and wet –which was a shame after such a beautiful start to May. But a brave bunch of us gathered in the beautiful location of Yarner Woods at the Woodland Centre to meet Megan Lowe from Butterfly Conservation and to learn more about the ecology and field identification of two of our early rare moorland butterflies the pearl bordered and small pearl bordered fritillary Over the sometimes torrential rain which threatened toRead more

Up with the birds

Fresh off the back of the Woodland festival lectures was a chance for people to get out and visit the National Nature Reserve and see some of the wildlife we’d been talking about the day before. Billed as a Beginners guide to the Dawn chorus this was definitely a more gentle way to ease us into the joys of early morning birdsong with a relatively leisurely 7am start. We were greeted by gentle sunshine easing through the trees and creatingRead more

Understanding Dartmoor’s woodlands

At this time of year the suggestion that a bunch of naturalists should spend time indoors is usually met with derision. Why be inside when you can be out and about watching Spring burst into action. So it was with a little trepidation that we decided to hold our first Woodland Festival Lectures programme at the National Park headquarters at Parke on Saturday right in the middle of the season. We needn’t have worried. There was a real appetite toRead more

Finding Treasure: Heritage and Wildlife of the Bovey Valley

The wildlife of the Bovey Valley has adapted to human influences for thousands of years, and today, there are many clues in the landscape showing where and how our ancestors have lived, side-by-side with nature for millennia. Remains of stone buildings from prehistoric and medieval times are scattered through the valley and recent studies have recorded where enclosures and boundaries defined different land uses. Further work by archaeologists continues to tell the story of human habitation in the Bovey which,Read more

Replenishing Resources – Carbon Capture in Action

On a misty spring-time Dartmoor morning, a group of employees and customers of Premier Paper Group got together for a company tree planting day in East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. As a paper manufacturer and supplier, Premier Paper is aware of its corporate responsibility for the resources they use and is working with the Woodland Trust on a ‘Carbon Capture’ scheme. The regional manager of Premier Paper explained how the paper industry uses a proportion of recycled material when possibleRead more

Sun, Trees, Tools and Tall Tales

You can’t organise the sun, but if we could, we couldn’t have planned it any better. On the 25th March we had the sun, we had warmth and we had lots of people having fun and learning about how and why we manage our woods (in the past and in the present). Down in the glade – where the sun kept everyone warm – there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere whilst people ate their picnics and took part in variousRead more

Bovey Valley Timber: Your Questions Answered

Why are trees felled in the woods of the Bovey Valley? How are they felled and how is the timber extracted? Where does the timber go after it leaves the Bovey Valley? Timber! Tools, Trees and Tall Tales is a special spring-time event hosted by the Woodland Trust and Natural England, as part of the wider HLF funded Moor than meets the eye project, where you will be able to find out the answers to these questions … and lotsRead more

Firewood for Good Gleaning

Across Dartmoor, there are visual signs of ancient boundaries where land owners once marked their land and, even today, the maps of the moor show the commons where people could graze their livestock in a regulated way. As times have changed, these rights have evolved and become more suited to our times. There were once areas where local people had the right to allow their pigs to eat acorns or beech mast but these practices are no longer relevant toRead more