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

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

Burying a Body in the Woods

It may sound a little macabre but, while you are out walking through the beautiful Dartmoor woodlands, how often do you turn your thoughts to the grisly job of burying a body? Alongside all the fascinating forms of woodland wildlife, there is a darker, morbid side, which is an essential part of the cycle of life. While springtime brings an abundance of new life, survival in the wild is a case of taking your chances when there are both winnersRead more