Discovering the nature of the Bovey Valley

This project aims to protect and conserve key species, habitats and historic features of the Bovey Valley, part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Together with other projects in the scheme it aims to foster deeper understanding and life-long interest in the area’s natural and cultural heritage, and engage local communities in all aspects of management.

Discovering the nature of the Bovey Valley

Horse logging Picture

Woodland Restoration Work

This project aims to protect and conserve key species, habitats and historic features of the Bovey Valley, part of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Together with other projects in the scheme it aims to foster deeper understanding and life-long interest in the area’s natural and cultural heritage, and engage local communities in all aspects of management.

East Dartmoor NNR is one of the best places in the country to enjoy the outdoors and to encounter wildlife. Managed by Natural England (NE) and the Woodland trust (WT), the Reserve lies just a ‘stone’s throw’ from the iconic Haytor Rocks and straddles higher open moors and the lower wooded valleys of the River Bovey and Becca Brook. Internationally important for its extensive ancient upland oak wood and heathland, the NNR is legally protected as a Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest. WT also owns and manages Pullabrook and Houndtor Woods in the Bovey Valley, which are contiguous with NNR.

The project will deliver a programme of activity that will bring about a step change in the focus and management ethos of this stunning landscape. This will be delivered through three specific programmes of work:

Woodland Restoration

The aim of this element of the project was to sensitively restore the conifer plantations at Pullabrook, Houndtor and Hisley Woods to their former broadleaf woodland condition. The work comprises of thinning conifer to create more open conditions for native ground flora and woodland to regenerate. Targeting areas with relic ancient woodland, felling has also been prioritised to unveil areas with archaeological interest, such as the medieval farmsteads of Boveycombe and Vinnimore. These spaces will also be of great benefit to threatened lichen and butterfly populations.

Work has now been completed in Pullabrook, Hisley Woods and Houndtor Woods.  The project has been supported by public events such as logging and timber felling demonstrations to provide opportunities for the public to see this important work in action.

Volunteer groups have also been engaged in the discovery and unveiling of the medieval farmstead of Vinnimore as part of a community dig and open day which took place in April 2017.

Hoy=undtor Woods Restoration

For more information on the science of Woodland Restoration in the Bovey Valley Woods and the phases of restoration work, please visit the East Dartmoor Woods blog here

For more information on the Vinnimore Medieval farmstead please visit the East Dartmoor Woods blog here

Trendlebere Reservoir Habitat Restoration

The reservoir is a large body of open water which is currently in poor ecological condition with no public access permitted due to safety conditions. The aim of the project is to significantly enhance the water quality and the aquatic wildlife value of the reservoir whilst also providing safe access for visitors (including improved car parking) and a bird hide.

Car park improvements were delivered in year 2 of the Scheme and subsequently construction of the bird hide and access track was completed. Metal railings have been fitted to improve public safety and the hide opened in 2017.

Work continues on improving the ecology of the reservoir. For more information on the restoration of Trendlebere Reservoir please read the East Dartmoor Woods blog here

Trendlebere Bird Hide

The new bird hide at Trendlebere Reservoir

Barbastelle Bat Survey

The Barbastelle Bat is a species rarely found anywhere in Europe but thriving in the Bovey Valley. Previously, very little was known about this enigmatic creature until the Woodland Trust, Natural England and the Bat Conservation Trust put together a project to undertake a year-long study of this shy and highly mobile species.

The original study was completed after a year-long intensive programme involving both specialist and general volunteers, of placing and monitoring bat boxes and using detectors to track movements. This successful project continues beyond its original scope to deliver additional data such as the CCTV monitoring of bat roosts. A report has been produced which will be valuable in informing land management and species conservation strategy in the future.

bat Vols at Night

Bat volunteers working the night shift

To learn more about this project please visit the bat Diaries at the East Dartmoor Woods blog here

Want to know more?

Speak to David Rickwood, Site Manager (Devon), Woodland Trust
Tel: 07827 820637
Email: davidrickwood@woodlandtrust.org.uk

Nik Ward, Dartmoor Team Leader, Natural England
Tel: 01626 831580
Email: nik.ward@naturalengland.org.uk

Read more

Related Articles

Wonderful Woodlands

Young naturalists got a chance to explore one of Dartmoor's best woodlands at the weekend as part of our Spring Woodland Festival. The Festival was organised so that families could meet wildlife experts, go on guided walks or take part in hands on activities. There were also plenty of other things to enjoy from storytelling and cool jazz to a fabulous barbeque run by the local scouts. Over 200 came along to learn more about Dartmoor's woodland wildlife despite there being plenty of alternative distractions such as the Royal Wedding and it being a perfect beach day!For those wishing to get away from it all it was the perfect retreat. As visitors walked from their cars they dropped down into the fresh leaved woods, following flags painted by local schoolchildren, until they emerged from the forest into a secret kingdom full of natures secrets to be discovered.The event was all about raising everyone's awareness of Dartmoor's wildlife and was supported by local and national wildlife organisations including RSPB, Woodland Trust, Natural England, Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group, Devon Wildlife Trust, National Trust and Butterfly Conservation.The smooth running of the event was down to the hard work of a team of staff and volunteers from NE, WT and MTMTE and all the other wildlife organisations, without whom this event could not take place. So a huge thank you to all of them for working so tirelessly throughout the day

Read more

The wildlife benefits of ivy

Ivy on trees is often the subject of great debate. On one hand it casts dense shade and on the other it’s a valuable source of late season nectar and provides other wildlife benefits. Earlier this month ecologists from Devon Wildlife Consultants surveyed Hisley Wood with a view to protecting some of the ivy clad larch trees above the derelict remains of Boveycombe farmstead ahead of the winter programme of woodland management. They were on site to provide advice to the felling team and to identify some of the monumental larches to save for the benefit of bats. As bats and their roosts are protected by law the Woodland Trust and its contractors needed to understand where the most likely places were for woodland bats to roost. Many species are known to use these trees; pipistrelles, noctules and long-eared bats all frequent the Bovey Valley. Even the rare barbastelle will use ivy on larch as an occasional refuge.

Read more

Bat Diary part 7

After a busy summer, Bristol University bat researcher Andy Carr and some dedicated volunteers got together at the Woodland Centre in Yarner Woods to review the Bovey Valley barbastelle bat tracking project. It all started back in April when the team of volunteers began training in the use of radio tracking and data recording equipment. Andy then set up a series of trapping nets to capture and tag bats and all was going well until the Dartmoor weather intervened. With various cold and unsettled spells the mist nets and harp traps were not quite as effective as had been hoped for. He initially wanted to track 30 of these rare woodland bats but, through 25 capturing nights, only 19 barbastelles were caught. It was not an entirely gloomy outcome though because there were many useful results and a lot of local habitat information was gained.

Read more

Last update: 06 Apr 2018 3:16pm