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

Working Woodlands

In the dense broadleaf woodland of the Bovey Valley, tucked away on a south facing slope just above the river lies the remains of an old farmstead – Boveycombe Farm. The farmstead and field systems have records dating as far back as 1332 all the way up until the 1940’s when some of the fields were farmed for potatoes. Since then, the farm has become engulfed by the surrounding woodland. Myself, Daniel and Tristan (full time trainees at East DartmoorRead more

Timber! Tools, Trees and Tall Tales – Saturday 24 March

If you want to know what woodland conservation is all about, the Timber! Tools, Trees and Tall Tales event is for you. Hosted by the Woodland Trust and Natural England at Pullabrook Woods in the Bovey Valley the woodland open day will show you why we fell trees, what happens to the timber and how we manage the precious woodland habitats for some of our special wild species. This event will celebrate the use of both traditional wood skills andRead 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

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

Counting butterflies

As the butterfly season draws to a close, butterfly surveyor Janet Ritchie reflects on the 2017 survey season and the all important Dartmoor weather… The regular butterfly transect through Yarner Wood takes place every week from April 1st to September 30th. The same timed walking route is used for long-term comparisons over the years. One of the main weekly considerations is the weather, the temperature has to be between 13-17 degrees and not when it’s windy. This keeps us focusedRead more

Bovey Beauty – a clear winner on a foggy day

This year’s Bovey Beauty, the 10 mile fell race up, down and around the beautiful valley of the River Bovey was run on Sunday 24th September and, according to race organiser Dave Rickwood, was the “best one yet”. With the largest field ever to enter the race, records were broken and runners from all around Devon, Dorset and Cornwall rose to the challenge of this Grade ‘B’ course. The route passes through some of the most rugged and remote areasRead more

Sharing Expertise on Woodland Bats

During a long mid-summer day, with the woodland canopy glowing green in the sunshine, it was a perfect day for a walk in the woods at East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, but this time, it was a walk with a difference. Conservation experts from around the SW had been brought together by the Woodland Trust to share the knowledge built up through recent research about a colony of barbastelles, a rare woodland bat species. Over recent years, this colony hasRead more

Graylings

August is the perfect time to go in search of a master of camouflage – the Grayling butterfly. In this blog, Natural England volunteer Janet Ritchie, shares her enjoyment of surveying for this summer butterfly and describes some of their unique characteristics. …To me, one of the interesting things about the month of August is looking for Grayling butterflies on Trendlebere Down. There are two transects I cover, the bigger one just below the top car park, and the smallerRead more