High Jinks with the High Brown Fritillary

Originally posted on Wicked and wild, it's a nature blog:

Take a wander along the sunlit bracken slopes of the Heddon Valley and you’ll see a cornucopia of butterflies; Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Large Skippers and lots of Fritillaries! Amongst those fritillaries is the UK’s most endangered butterfly, the High Brown Fritillary, and the bracken slopes in the Heddon Valley are one of the best sites for this gorgeous butterfly.

Dark Green Fritillary Dark Green Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary Silver Washed Fritillary

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Courting High Browns. Photo courtesy of fellow ranger Zoe Caals Courting High Browns. Photo courtesy of fellow ranger Zoe Caals

The High Brown Fritillary is a fussy butterfly, it needs just the right amount of bracken litter in order to thrive. The adult butterfly lays the eggs on the bracken litter where they spend the winter snug and toasty, incubated by the dead bracken. In the spring the larvae hatches and commences feeding on its food plant, the Common Dog Violet. The bracken litter needs to be dense enough in order to keep the…

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The Next Step….

Originally posted on Wicked and wild, it's a nature blog:

Well I have come to the end of my six month volunteering placement with the National Trust in West Exmoor and what a time I’ve had. Fantastic experiences, wonderful opportunities, great people and the chance to live in a truly breath-taking part of the world. I’ve learnt a lot; the rangers taught me how to identify trees by their bark in the winter, the Lead Ranger taught me how to identify wildflowers by their leaves, I know how to fell a tree and hang a gate. Most of all I know that I am doing what I really want to be doing. And in my final couple of weeks there was still time to learn a lot more.

Myself and Harry spent a few days in Combe Park woods with one of the National Trust’s volunteers from a few years ago, Paul. Paul is a local lad who has an…

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Faecal Finds: The Quest for Exmoor’s Otters

Originally posted on Wicked and wild, it's a nature blog:

An iconic animal that teetered on the brink of disaster, instantly recognisable but rarely seen, and an indicator of the health of our rivers and streams. Yes, the Otter (Lutra lutra) is one of our celebrated success stories, a much loved mammal and a creature of great ecological importance. For these reasons they are one of the species that I am surveying as part of the National Trust West Exmoor wildlife monitoring project that I am heading up, and as part of the West Somerset Otter groups long standing surveying project with the assistance of Exmoor National Park. It’s all about partnerships people!

Otter by David Merrigan via Flickr Otter by David Merrigan via Flickr

The story of the otter is well known; back in the 1950s and 60s our rivers were in a dire state, full of pesticides and chemicals. The wildlife took a serious beating and the otter noticeably so, they were driven to…

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A review of Exmoor’s moorland – what’s changing?

Meetings are being held to gather views from  farmers, commoners and landowners.

Meetings are being held to gather views from farmers, commoners and landowners.

Farmers, landowners and commoners are being asked to share their knowledge of Exmoor National Park’s moorland landscapes for an important review. The 2015 Moorland Units Review will help shape Exmoor National Park priorities and projects for the next 5 years.

Jason Ball, EMLP Scheme Manager said: “Your feedback will shape the 2015 report, which will influence the decision-makers and grant-makers when it comes to supporting Exmoor’s moorland management. If you look after the moorland, or if it important to you, please help us to update this Moorland Units report, which will be an official document for the Exmoor National Park Authority.”

Jason added: “We’ve posted questionnaires and maps to all the moorland managers and farmers we know. So if you should have received something but haven’t, please contact me on jpball@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or 01398 322164 – or you can do the survey online.”

 

The Exmoor Moorland Landscape Partnership comprises a dozen organisations including the National Farmers’ Union, the Exmoor Society, Natural England, Historic England and Exmoor National Park Authority. The review is a partnership project supported by Heritage Lottery Funding as part of the Heart of Exmoor scheme. Please see www.heartofexmoor.org.uk for details.

Do the survey online

The 2015 Moorland Units Review questionnaire is now available online (along with the original 2010 report)  to reach a wide audience including farmers, landowners and commoners, Parish Councils, moorland pony herd owners, tourism and leisure providers, and others involved with Exmoor’s moorland. Link here.

Farmers and landowners are already sending in their questionnaires, and meetings are being held to gather the views of moorland managers directly. We are asking other groups to submit their feedback via the website by the end of August.

Share your knowledge of Exmoor National Park’s moorland landscapes for the 2015 Moorland Units Review and help to shape Exmoor National Park priorities and projects for the next 5 years. If you look after the moorland, or if it is important to you, please help us to update this Moorland Units report, which will be an official document for the Exmoor National Park Authority.

The Moorland Unit areas of Exmoor National Park

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Bogtastic is on WEDNESDAY

The popular Bogtastic event is on Wednesday 29 July, 10am – 4pm, based in and around Simonsbath.

This all-weather  ‘drop in’ event is FREE and features 40 exciting activities – the Bogstacle course, stream dipping, bog safaris, the opportunity to visit one of the South West’s last remaining operational water powered sawmills and lots more fun indoors and outdoors. (Yes there are toilets, shelter, food and parking.)

“Exmoor’s bogs give us so much to celebrate – from wonderful habitat and carbon storage to the water that ultimately ends up in our taps. Bogtastic is a great opportunity stop and think about the significance of bogs for all of us!” –  said Morag Angus, project manager, Exmoor Mires Project.

Patrick Watts-Mabbott, Exmoor National Park volunteer and outreach officer commented: “Bogtastic will have something for everyone, from archaeology and bats to boggy walks and sawmill tours. Entry is free!”

For further information on Bogtastic please contact 01598 752509 or visit http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/ or the Facebook page www.tinyurl.com/Bogtastic15 and watch the hashtag #Bogtastic15 on Twitter.

Bogtastic is financially supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, South West Water and the Exmoor National Park Partnership Fund through the Heart of Exmoor Scheme.

The UK has 20% of the world’s blanket bog with Exmoor fortunate to have some of this rare and fascinating habitat.  This landscape is often considered to be the UK’s equivalent of Brazil’s exotic rainforest; it is a huge store of carbon dioxide and home to numerous endangered species and even a carnivorous plant, the sundew.

International celebrations occur as far afield as Estonia, Ireland and America. Exmoor will be at the heart of this year’s celebrations with its unique Bogtastic day out.

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Bat Survey 2 at Simonsbath (check the weather!)

DATE & TIME: Tues 28 July 2015, 19:00 – 22:30

Be part of the UK-wide National Bat Monitoring Programme Survey in Simonsbath.  Training and bat detectors will be provided.  You don’t have to be an expert just enthusiastic! Commences with a briefing BBQ. (Let’s hope the weather holds out for us – very changeable this week.)

Based at Simonsbath Sawmill (TA24 7SH), park at Ashcombe car park SS774394. Booking required. Appropriate clothing and a torch essential.

Booking essential – contact Ali Hawkins, ENPA. Tel: 01398 322282 Email: ahawkins@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or register online to get updates.

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25 July 2015 Archaeology activities at the Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon

When: 25 July 2015
Where: Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon

FREE EVENT – a morning of archaeology activities at the Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon as they celebrate 25 years of the Festival of Archaeology.

North Devon Archaeological Society will show you what’s involved in carrying out excavations!  Learn how to handle artefacts from excavations, find out all about geophys, chat to amateur and professional archaeologists and how to get involved in research survey and digging.

Linda Blanchard from NDAS said: “We will have finds from some of our digs, geophysics kit, and the Exmoor handling kits full of interesting objects! There are strong links to the  Tarka trail, Estuary, AONB and Biosphere, and Exmoor with handling collections, fishtraps on the estuary, wrecks and hulks and Sadie will be bringing along some of her coastal finds and talking about the international trade in North Devon Pottery in the 17th century. It is part of Fishtival.”

bronze-age-exmoor-kit

Delve into the Exmoor handling boxes – packed full of Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age replica items you can handle. These were devised by Faye Balmond, the Moorland Heritage Officer for Heart of Exmoor with the help of money from the heritage Lottery Fund.

The Festival of Archaeology – coordinated by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) – encourages everyone to explore the archaeology of their local area, watch experts at work, and experience archaeology for themselves.

This FREE event runs from 10.30am – 1pm and is suitable for all ages, so do come along!

ndas.org.uk

NDAS on Facebook

 

 

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