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

A Lichen Tor

Lichens are so omnipresent that few people stop to admire the incredible variety among them. I myself was guilty of paying them little more attention than a cursory glance, before I, with a team of other Natural Sciences undergraduates from the University of Exeter, teamed up with Natural England for one of our modules. Two of the key lichen species that we recorded at sites across Dartmoor – Usnea articulata (left) and Bryoria fuscescens  On our first venture to Dartmoor, weRead more

Lichens – Dartmoor’s Hidden Gems

During the winter, when the leaves fall off trees, these small sometimes unseen beauties can be better appreciated, though they can be seen all the year round. Although they can grow on almost any surface; rock, metal, glass, plastic, walls, bone, leather, paint, fences, pavements, soil, rocks, grave stones, old houses – it is on the trees in the internationally important Atlantic / upland western oak woodland that they are most renowned. Dartmoor is one of the best places 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

No Boundaries – Broader Horizons

The wonderful wildlife of the eastern side of Dartmoor is not just found within the boundaries of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Species of plants and animals often find places that suit their requirements in the surrounding fields, heaths and woods. The nature reserve managers, Natural England and the Woodland Trust, frequently work with neighbouring landowners to monitor and improve the habitats around this beautiful part of the moor. For example, in recent years, researchers from the University ofRead more

The Mighty Oak

The oak has for centuries been a national symbol of strength and durability. The mightiest oaks can live for over 800 years old, which has earned them their reputation as a solid and dependable place to shelter and as an icon of reliability.  They stand firmly rooted in both folklore, and the landscape around us. So today, to mark the launch of a new Charter for Trees, 800 years to the day from the signing of the original Charter of the Forest,Read more

East Dartmoor’s Mires

East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve contains a diverse mosaic of habitats across its 365 hectares. One habitat type that can sometimes be overlooked amongst the larger, more conspicuous woodlands and heaths are the mires. Mires are wet and acidic habitats dominated by layers of partially decayed vegetation, known as peat, often 0.5 – 3.0 m deep. Hidden amongst combes or on the open moors, mires include rain-fed blanket bogs and valley-positioned fens which receive their water and mineral-supply from bothRead more