From Wood to Moor – a Dartmoor Conservation Story (chapter 1)

When you walk through the wooded fringes of Dartmoor you may occasionally hear the rasp of a chainsaw followed by the thud of falling conifer trees. You may sometimes stroll by a stack of timber, perhaps wondering what that pile of logs could be used for. Following that train of thought, you might perhaps ask yourself the question, “Why are they cutting down these trees? Isn’t that a bit destructive?” Well, in many of these woodlands there is a plan,Read more

A Tour of East Dartmoor

The Conservation Assistants recently led a guided tour of the National Nature Reserve (NNR) for the Dartmoor National Park apprentices.  This was a chance for them to see what the trainee scheme at East Dartmoor NNR is all about, and for both sides to network, sharing experiences and knowledge. I was invited to go along as a new volunteer, so I could get to know the National Nature Reserve and also get an overview of the sort of activities goingRead more

A Year in Yarner

In searching the waterways for signs of otters, Natural England volunteer, Emma, has been discovering the beauty of Yarner Wood as it changes through the seasons… For the last year I have been volunteering as part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve otter survey team, visiting the woods on a regular basis to look for signs of otters on and around the rivers, streams and leats that braid their way across the landscape. Visiting the same places through theRead more

Elm on the Edge

The story of the wych elm trees in the Bovey Valley Woods has reached its final chapter. The volunteers of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve began the adventure began back in 2016 when a hunt for the diminished population of elms took a painstakingly methodical route through the woods to find these elusive trees. The first stage of the project required the individual trees to be found, assessed for health, recorded and plotted on a map because, before thisRead more

Work to the Reservoir Starts!

Slightly hidden but only a short walk into Yarner Woods, lies the reservoir. It’s a popular place to sit and watch waterfowl species, such as the mandarin ducks, and on the sunny autumn days we have been having recently, it’s easy to overlook that underneath the surface of the water, it’s an ecosystem that’s not performing at its best. Results of a recent fish survey suggested its waters are deprived of nutrients, a condition known as ‘oligotrophic’. Fish were foundRead more

Long Gone, But Not Forgotten … Remembering the PiedFlys

As the seasons change our thoughts inevitably turn to the colder months ahead. So what better time to look back to those bright early days of spring, when East Dartmoor’s woods were bursting into life.  By pairing the stats from this year’s bird breeding season, with some stunning photos of the birds in action, this blog is an opportunity to celebrate the pied flycatcher, a migrant species that’s been monitored here since the 1950’s. Arriving in April to breed, piedRead more