Pearls of Wisdom

Thursday was definitely not ideal butterfly weather- cold and wet –which was a shame after such a beautiful start to May. But a brave bunch of us gathered in the beautiful location of Yarner Woods at the Woodland Centre to meet Megan Lowe from Butterfly Conservation and to learn more about the ecology and field identification of two of our early rare moorland butterflies the pearl bordered and small pearl bordered fritillary Over the sometimes torrential rain which threatened toRead more

Up with the birds

Fresh off the back of the Woodland festival lectures was a chance for people to get out and visit the National Nature Reserve and see some of the wildlife we’d been talking about the day before. Billed as a Beginners guide to the Dawn chorus this was definitely a more gentle way to ease us into the joys of early morning birdsong with a relatively leisurely 7am start. We were greeted by gentle sunshine easing through the trees and creatingRead more

Understanding Dartmoor’s woodlands

At this time of year the suggestion that a bunch of naturalists should spend time indoors is usually met with derision. Why be inside when you can be out and about watching Spring burst into action. So it was with a little trepidation that we decided to hold our first Woodland Festival Lectures programme at the National Park headquarters at Parke on Saturday right in the middle of the season. We needn’t have worried. There was a real appetite toRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 2

Day two and the sun was still shining despite the forecast of rain, although diggers were subjected to a blast of sleet after the lunchbreak, which came as a bit of a surprise.  A further trench was opened this morning, with the arrival of three further volunteers, bringing the total number of trenches to four.  Within a couple of hours finds started to emerge, including pottery, but also some fragments of burnt deposits and a few pieces of ironwork. DespiteRead more

On the lichen trail

Dartmoor’s woodlands are very special places for wildlife.  Located close to the Atlantic Ocean, they provide conditions for life that are not found in most of the rest of the UK. East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve is the home to a diverse assemblage of lichen, but due to their small size, these miniature marvels are often overlooked by people visiting. In this blog, volunteer Janet Ritchie reports on a guided walk along the granite tramway, where a group of local artists were introduced toRead 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

Granite: 400 million years and counting

Friday morning 20th January 2017 saw a meeting of about 30 people in the Woodland Centre at Yarner Wood, on the next stage of Granite Elements. Andy Bailey, on behalf of Moor than meets the eye, welcomed us and set the scene on the project so far: Parishscapes – investigating local use of granite. He explained that artists Bridget Arnold and Viv Styles, launched the idea last March and there has been a packed programme of walks and art daysRead 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

From fungi to 4×4’s – life as a new Conservation Assistant

With the autumn season that has just begun its seasonal rain and the leaves that have started to turn all sorts of striking colours – from gold and bronze to russet and deep red, here at Yarner Wood there are some new faces within the team. Beany, Natalija and Sarah have just begun their one year journey as EcoSkills trainees. With a passion for nature, they all have a background in ecology and conservation and are eager to pursue careers inRead more