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

Woodland Management – Honing the Technique

Woodland restoration is an evolving technique based on both science and what is known about the local conditions in each individual wood. The Bovey Valley Woods are a good case in point as they are varied in their species makeup and located on Dartmoor, where steep ground and high humidity are typical. Continuous Cover Forestry is a form of ecological forest management, where the character of the woodland is gradually changed from one where planted conifers dominate the landscape, toRead more

Lighting up the Darkness

Following pre and post-management surveying along Bovey Valley wood’s ancient banks and boundaries in August 2020 (Back in the Bovey blog), professional habitat-management contractors working for the Woodland Trust and Natural England have been selectively clearing holly, beech and sycamore to bring back the light to the woodland understorey, as part of Plantlife’s ‘Building Resilience in South West Woodlands’ project. Without management, many of these ancient boundaries have become over-grown with shading tree species which can become invasive if notRead more

A Growing Problem

The view along the Bovey Valley Woods is a dramatic scene that makes many passers-by stop and stare. Taking time to absorb this spectacle is one of the great pleasures of Dartmoor. It is one of those iconic panoramas of the eastern moor where the sweeping skyline of Lustleigh Cleave provides a bold and rocky backdrop for the diverse, soft patterns and colours of the tree cover that sweeps along the valley. Breath-taking at any time of year. But recently,Read more