Health and Wellbeing

‘Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity’John Muir 19th Century Scottish environmentalist At the most basic level human health and wellbeing is dependent on the goods and services of the environment: air, food, shelter and water. In addition, the importance to our physical and mental wellbeing of spending time within the natural environment has been recognised since ancient times and is seen of increasingRead more

Building Resilience Back in the Bovey

This August saw the return of Plantlife’s Building Resilience in the South-West project to Bovey Valley woods. In partnership with the Woodland Trust and Natural England, this National Lottery Heritage Fund funded project has seen the valleys historic field boundaries surveyed and managed, to increase their habitat value for the many rare lichen species they support. In previous years, the surveys have been carried out with the help of citizen science volunteers from the local community, gathering data on lightRead more

Walking the “Butterflies of the Bovey Valley”

It is August bank holiday, a beautiful sunny day, and a perfect opportunity to follow one of the wildlife walking routes around the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. There are five wildlife walking routes to choose from, but unsurprisingly, butterfly surveyor Simon, chose to follow the Butterflies of the Bovey Valley trail that follows woodland tracks by the River Bovey and crosses the heathland on Trendlebere Down. This blog is intended not to add any more route advice and detailRead more

Nocturnal Life at East Dartmoor

Did you know that when we go to sleep another world awakens? When you visit the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve in the daytime, you can see many different bird species quite easily. Mammals are generally harder to spot because most are nocturnal, meaning they only come out at night. As dusk settles in, these creatures start to emerge and the woods become alive with small and large mammals. It is always exciting to open the images that have beenRead more

Dormice Dozing (Part 1)

Whilst the trees in the woods appear to be standing still, waiting for spring to arrive, buried within the leaf litter one of our most iconic native mammals has also put its life on hold, until spring arrives. The size of a thumb, our native hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, is a mostly arboreal woodland species that hibernates at ground level in a nest made from local materials during the winter months. Photoperiod – the ratio of light to dark inRead more

Counting Butterflies in the Bovey Valley

As we come to the end of the year, and with the butterfly survey season well behind us, there’s a chance to reflect on the survey season and to plan for next year.  Simon Smith, who has written this end of season report, is one of six recorders who walks a set route, or “transect”, in the National Nature Reserve every week from April to the end of September.  In this blog he gives a personal account of the endRead more