The Water of Life

After a night of heavy rain, yet another Dartmoor deluge, I’m waiting in the Postbridge car park to meet David Leach. He is the Dartmoor Peatland Restoration Project Officer and, after introductions, we get kitted up for a two-mile trudge in full waterproofs to check on the progress of the South West Peatland Project, a habitat restoration project covering Dartmoor and the uplands of Exmoor and Bodmin Moor too. Our journey begins with a typically wintry walk, but conversation isRead more

Transforming the Reservoir – Work Completed!

Starting work in December, a small team have been busy installing floating rafts, planting willow and felling trees around the reservoir in Yarner Wood. The reservoir has been transformed from the straight edged concrete pool that was once uninviting to people and wildlife. This is an overview of the management work that has taken place in this watery corner of the National Nature Reserve. American signal crayfish surveys – good news!As mentioned in the previous blog, the focus in autumnRead 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

Picking the Bones out of an Otter’s Lunch

Very few of us are lucky enough to have seen a real live otter though they frequently swim, hunt and raise cubs along the River Bovey and its tributaries. They are the apex predator in the food chain of this watery world and, though they have an elusive reputation, will leave us regular clues about where they have been and, if you look closely, what they have been eating. Please excuse the direct approach to getting down to business, butRead more

A Year in Yarner

In searching the waterways for signs of otters, Natural England volunteer, Emma, has been discovering the beauty of Yarner Wood as it changes through the seasons… For the last year I have been volunteering as part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve otter survey team, visiting the woods on a regular basis to look for signs of otters on and around the rivers, streams and leats that braid their way across the landscape. Visiting the same places through theRead more