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

Nik Ward, Dartmoor Team Leader, Natural England
Tel: 01626 831580

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Last update: 06 Apr 2018 3:16pm