Earthworms at Yarner

“It may be doubted if there are many other animals which have played such an important part in the history of the world as these lowly organised creatures” – Charles Darwin, The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms (1881). This is the quote that Matt Shepherd opened World Earthworm Day at Yarner Wood with. But why are earthworms so important? Matt is a specialist on soil biodiversity for Natural England, he explained that worms are integral membersRead more

Otter Survey – Time to Share Some Skills

Otters are very secretive and elusive animals. We know they live along the River Bovey but, how many are there? And where are they? Occasional sightings and short clips of video from stationary trail cameras only provide partial answers to those questions. So, how do we find out where they are at any particular time? Well, the answer is, legwork! By monitoring the signs otters leave behind, we can slowly build up a picture of where they move around theRead more

Saving a Rare Species – The Plight of the Elm

East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve is just one of over 200 NNRs across England, and Natural England designate these areas to “protect some of our most important habitats”. These conservation areas are widely varied but, here in the woods of East Dartmoor, a team of volunteers is helping to conserve a tree that, over recent decades has become scarce and, while being worthy of protection itself, it also holds the key to the survival of a rareRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – the final day

Today was our last day on site at Vinnimore and what a week it’s been.  We had a steady trickle of visitors throughout the day who came to the open day – some were just passing through and others had made a special journey to see the excavation taking place.  Jane, Kate and Dave from the Woodland Trust, DNPA archaeologist Andy Crabb and myself and Andy from Moor than meets the eye were on hand to greet visitors, explain theRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 5

There was a real sense of anticipation and excitement on site today as we approach the end of the dig and begin preparations for the open day tomorrow.  As the weather was milder, the midges were out in full force which made working conditions a little difficult at times.  Fortunately, our volunteers are a resilient and hardy bunch who aren’t to be put off by swarms of these tiny insects. John and Marc from Oakford Archaeology began the process ofRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 4

Today we were joined by over 50 pupils form Widecombe and Blackpool primary schools who have helped out with the excavation with great enthusiasm! They also enjoyed a guided walk through the surrounding woodlands to explore the remains of Boveycombe Farm and learn about the ever-changing woodland landscape. Many thanks to the pupils and their teachers for paying us a visit! In what we now think is the kitchen for the dwelling, work was focussed on removing tumble around theRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 3

  Another fantastic day on site and we are now already half way through the excavation. It is quite amazing what twelve volunteers can achieve in that amount of time! Despite the chilly start everyone were soon working hard to reveal yet more fascinating features about the site.  The two main areas of progress to report on today include the discovery of a second, rather fine fire place and, at last, a small area of surviving flooring. The fireplace hasRead more

News from the Vinnimore Dig – Day 1

Day one of Lustleigh’s Parishscapes-funded community archaeology dig got off to a flying start.  Members of Lustleigh Parish worked alongside Mark and Johnnie from Oakford Archaeology, members of the East Dartmoor NNR History Hunters team, National Park archaeologist Andy Crabb and MTMTE Community Heritage Officer Emma Stockley. The trench one team! The excavation site, an abandoned post-medieval farmstead, is located in the beautiful Bovey Valley, set amongst ancient woodland alongside the Becka Brook.   Before any digging began, the walk to the site revealedRead more

Aligning the Past and the Present

This blog marks the start of week of archaeology at East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve.  Starting on site today, a team of local residents guided by archaeologists, will be carrying out an archaeological dig at the site of a post medieval farmstead in the Bovey Valley. The lead archaeologists will be posting daily field reports on the East Dartmoor Woods blog this week and they will be sharing their findings from the excavation, at the Vinnimore Community Archaeology Dig – Open Day next Saturday 29th April.  Read more

Replenishing Resources – Carbon Capture in Action

On a misty spring-time Dartmoor morning, a group of employees and customers of Premier Paper Group got together for a company tree planting day in East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. As a paper manufacturer and supplier, Premier Paper is aware of its corporate responsibility for the resources they use and is working with the Woodland Trust on a ‘Carbon Capture’ scheme. The regional manager of Premier Paper explained how the paper industry uses a proportion of recycled material when possibleRead more