Feeding time in May’s grasslands and hedgerows

The increased variety of flowers and grasses in our gardens and green spaces creates a beautiful rich tapestry of colours, as well as a valuable source of food for insects and butterflies. Often overlooked in favour of the bigger view, this year they are an ideal way to connect with nature’s pollinators. Grassland feeding stations In damp meadows and hedgerows, wild grasses are coming into flower. Often grown as early grazing and hay, they provide shelter and food for aRead more

Spring is here

Now our window onto the world is smaller, the view is more precious. Reassuringly nature is following her seasonal rhythm and April is full of new arrivals. In your gardens or local green spaces (on your daily exercise) you’ll see weekly changes as trees come into leaf, spring flowers open and more birds return. Summer’s canopy is on its way. Starting as a hazy green tinge the familiar leaves of ash, beech, birch and oak are adding their weight toRead more

Wood Ants in the Winter

Ants are the most numerous creatures on the planet and there are many millions of them living around the woods of East Dartmoor, but why is the species of red wood ant (Formica rufa) such an important part of our woodland ecosystem? These wood ants that build the familiar ‘thatched’ nests are a familiar sight during the summer and, occasionally, it can be quite difficult to find a place to stand where these centimetre centurions aren’t crawling all over yourRead more

Woodland birds response to climatic change: Part 2

In this blog, Malcolm Burgess from the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, describes the importance of monitoring invertebrates and shares the findings of some innovative research in Yarner Wood – measuring insect poo to help investigate the impacts of climate change on woodland birds.   As I mentioned in my last blog, the breeding success of hole-nesting woodland birds, such as Blue Tits and Pied Flycatchers, is thought to be dependent on the short seasonal spike in availability of caterpillar prey.  These bird speciesRead more

The Ponies of East Dartmoor’s Woods – Part Two

In The Ponies of East Dartmoor’s Woods – Part One I talked about how important our herd of 14 Dartmoor ponies is in maintaining the structure and biodiversity found in the woods today. In this blog I look at what we do for our ponies, in return for all their hard work. I also highlight some of the issues involved with keeping a herd of semi-wild Dartmoor ponies, in a reserve where human interaction is inevitable and how visitors can enjoy these poniesRead more

The Ponies of East Dartmoor’s Woods – Part One

This is part one of a two part blog series, on the ponies of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Regular visitors to Yarner Woods may have been fortunate enough to stumble across some of our resident Dartmoor ponies. In total, we manage a small herd of 14 individuals. Their presence in the reserve is very much to our benefit however the relationship that we have with these little ponies is not one-way. In part one, I describe how throughRead more