Giving Lower Plants the Upper Hand

The mild, wet conditions in the south-west of England, brought about by the Gulf Stream and our proximity to the sea, have created perfect conditions for the establishment of Atlantic Woodlands. These moist, humid woods—also known as Celtic Rainforests—are brimming with lush green ferns, carpets of mosses and lichens covering tree trunks and hanging from the canopies. Building Resilience in South West Woodlands is a new Heritage Lottery-funded project—led by Plantlife—that addresses the challenges faced by the Atlantic woodlands ofRead more

Crayfish Check: Initial Investigation for Invasives Shows All Clear

With works on the dam by the Yarner Office underway, now is a great time to enjoy the new bird hide on the reservoir; across the road from the Middle Trendlebere car park. The hide has been constructed by volunteers, with funding from the Moor than meets the eye scheme. As well as funding the hide, the scheme is also funding work to boost the reservoir’s wildlife value. In order to safeguard against the work disturbing important species, and toRead more

A Lichen Tor

Lichens are so omnipresent that few people stop to admire the incredible variety among them. I myself was guilty of paying them little more attention than a cursory glance, before I, with a team of other Natural Sciences undergraduates from the University of Exeter, teamed up with Natural England for one of our modules. Two of the key lichen species that we recorded at sites across Dartmoor – Usnea articulata (left) and Bryoria fuscescens  On our first venture to Dartmoor, weRead more

Lichens – Dartmoor’s Hidden Gems

During the winter, when the leaves fall off trees, these small sometimes unseen beauties can be better appreciated, though they can be seen all the year round. Although they can grow on almost any surface; rock, metal, glass, plastic, walls, bone, leather, paint, fences, pavements, soil, rocks, grave stones, old houses – it is on the trees in the internationally important Atlantic / upland western oak woodland that they are most renowned. Dartmoor is one of the best places toRead more

Five in one, half a dozen in the other!

You would be hard-pressed to find a more vibrant display of natural life than a family of dormice launching themselves, as if spring-loaded, out of their nesting box. This isn’t an uncommon sight when checking the nesting boxes that have been nestled away in the hazel coppice within Hisley Woods. At peak nesting season in September an impressive eighteen dormice were observed in one days monitoring, with two boxes hosting entire families numbering five and six individuals! After being weighed,Read more

East Dartmoor’s Mires

East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve contains a diverse mosaic of habitats across its 365 hectares. One habitat type that can sometimes be overlooked amongst the larger, more conspicuous woodlands and heaths are the mires. Mires are wet and acidic habitats dominated by layers of partially decayed vegetation, known as peat, often 0.5 – 3.0 m deep. Hidden amongst combes or on the open moors, mires include rain-fed blanket bogs and valley-positioned fens which receive their water and mineral-supply from bothRead more