Transforming the Reservoir – Work Completed!

Starting work in December, a small team have been busy installing floating rafts, planting willow and felling trees around the reservoir in Yarner Wood. The reservoir has been transformed from the straight edged concrete pool that was once uninviting to people and wildlife. This is an overview of the management work that has taken place in this watery corner of the National Nature Reserve. American signal crayfish surveys – good news!As mentioned in the previous blog, the focus in autumnRead more

A Year at East Dartmoor

Looking out across the woods this morning it seems that spring is well on its way with lots of birdwatchers in the hides and brimstones on the wing. I have shared a year in the life of Yarner Wood and have watched it change through all of its four seasons. Of all the seasons’ spring is a time for new beginnings and for me that means a new start in Bristol. As I draw towards the end of my traineeshipRead more

A Win-Win for Nature

Woodland restoration is a slow process requiring a determined approach and, with good planning and dedication, Houndtor Woods in the Bovey Valley is showing real signs of progress. For decades, the dense cover of introduced conifer trees has been casting shade over the ancient woodland soil below, suppressing the wild flowers and reducing the range of insects and birds that once thrived there. To remedy this habitat conservation problem, the Woodland Trust is using a step-by-step method; thinning out theRead more

Sprucing Up Houndtor Ridge

During a spell of sparkling weather in February a few hints of Spring began to show in Houndtor Wood. This south facing sun trap was once an ancient woodland, part of the network of Atlantic ‘temperate rainforest’ that is native to the western side of Britain but, since the 1950s, has been cleared and planted with a timber crop. These conifer species include Sitka spruce, western red cedar and Douglas fir, all introduced from the west coast of North America.Read more

Letting in the Light

This summer and autumn, a group of volunteers have been  assisting Dr Alison Smith from Plantlife, to carry out a citizen science survey of some of the ancient woodland boundaries in the Bovey Valley. They have been recording the lichens found growing on the ancient oaks that span some of the old boundaries and they have been helping to photograph the canopy cover of the trees, using a 360 degree fisheye lens camera. These photographs can be used to measure the amount of light reachingRead more

Picking the Bones out of an Otter’s Lunch

Very few of us are lucky enough to have seen a real live otter though they frequently swim, hunt and raise cubs along the River Bovey and its tributaries. They are the apex predator in the food chain of this watery world and, though they have an elusive reputation, will leave us regular clues about where they have been and, if you look closely, what they have been eating. Please excuse the direct approach to getting down to business, butRead more