End of an Era

As many of you will be aware the Moor than meets the eye partnership scheme draws to a close later this year and the EcoSkills graduate trainee programme has come to an end… All together 15 of the 17 trainee Conservation Assistants who participated in the project, based here at Yarner, are employed in the conservation sector with 6 working in Devon / Eastern Cornwall – a wonderful legacy  for both the project and for the individuals concerned.  Congratulations toRead more

Astonishing Ancient Woodland

A PhD researcher from the University of Reading has selected a local Woodland Trust site, to collect some samples for laboratory analysis. She is investigating the crucial link between oak trees and the nutrient exchange facilitated by the tiny mycorrhizal fungus attached to the trees’ roots. As she spends the summer collecting samples across Britain, Matt Parkins reports on her recent visit to Grey Park Wood on Dartmoor. She will returning to East Dartmoor to collect samples under the oaksRead more

My Lichen Summer School

Visitors might be drawn in by the birds, bats and butterflies, or even the possibility of seeing an elusive otter, but the Bovey Valley, in the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve is also renowned for its more unassuming residents, an internationally renowned lichen population. Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between a fungus, and at least one photosynthetic partner, usually an alga. They can colonise almost anywhere, but it’s the tree-dwellers which are attracting the attention of conservationists, as part ofRead more

Surveying Butterflies – A Report from the Field

From 1st April to 30th September every year, volunteers all over the country conduct a Butterfly Transect study on a weekly basis. What is that you may well ask?  Well, in simple terms, its a weekly recording of butterfly numbers and species within a defined area, which has to be repeated exactly.  The records produced are sent to the United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), from which numbers and trends in number of UK butterflies can be analysed on aRead more

The Water of Life

After a night of heavy rain, yet another Dartmoor deluge, I’m waiting in the Postbridge car park to meet David Leach. He is the Dartmoor Peatland Restoration Project Officer and, after introductions, we get kitted up for a two-mile trudge in full waterproofs to check on the progress of the South West Peatland Project, a habitat restoration project covering Dartmoor and the uplands of Exmoor and Bodmin Moor too. Our journey begins with a typically wintry walk, but conversation isRead more

King of Spring Returns

May is a month already bustling with weird and wonderful traditional customs celebrating Spring, so was there room in the calendar for a new one? Andy Bailey from Dartmoor’s Moor than meets the eye scheme believes so. On Sunday 19th at 11am, a small crowd started to gather at the entrance to Yarner Wood to mark the start of the Spring Woodland Festival. Andy was joined by a giant flying pied flycatcher, a band of merry musicians and colourful flockRead more