Step into Spring

“Come with me into the woods, where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what….” Mary Oliver, Poet With the lengthening days and Easter upon us spring is definitely in the air and accelerating in pace. The start of spring though is open to interpretation depending on how you measure it and for what purpose. The meteorological spring, for instance, is based on 4 three-month periods using annual temperature cycles providing consistent markers between the seasons to enable comparativeRead more

Veteranisation – Bat Conservation and Old Wood Features

Back in March 2020, the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) had organised a Woodland Bat Symposium at the WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking, Surrey. Only days before the battiest people from across the country were due to meet and share the latest news on bats in woodland habitats, the national conference was postponed – the first Covid-19 lockdown was around the corner. I was due to attend the conference to present a talk about how the Woodland Trust has beenRead 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

Nature’s Grand Recycling Plan

Spring is just around the corner and it is our last chance to appreciate the bare trees and the amount of dead wood left in East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Here we understand the value of these carbon stores and the wildlife value they hold: a dead tree creates a gap in the canopy for the next generation of trees to grow; the leaf litter created in autumn by fallen leaves is a valuable food source and habitat, and ifRead more

A Kaleidoscope of Colour – Wildlife watching in 2020

As the world seems grey as we enter the new year, both literally and metaphorically, now seems a good time to try and bring some colour into our lives. I understand that some people have chosen to keep their Christmas lights and decorations on during January to lift people’s spirits. They are in good company alongside English Heritage and Durham and Salisbury cathedrals keeping to the medieval tradition of celebrating through till Candlemass on the 2nd February. My contribution toRead more

Nature’s Architectural Branches

Without the leaves on the trees, a different set of views is being revealed across East Dartmoor and our local greenspaces. From smooth barks, to ones covered in lichen; from interlocking dense hedgerows to solitary trees; from picture perfect shapes to the craggy hollows in mature trees, the beautiful architecture of branches is reaching for the sky. Abundant acorns If you’ve watched Autumnwatch, or been monitoring your local oaks, you’ll be aware of the huge number of acorns this year.Read more