Mick Jones Mick Jones

All articles by Mick Jones

 

Bridford Wood

Our ongoing program of conservation woodland management has moved from Castle Drogo estate into Bridford wood this winter it has been some years since we have done work here. Why are we doing it? This area of the wood has become more dense with the trees crowding each other and shading out the understory trees...
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The Art of Hedging

On Weds I travelled up to the 156th Mendip Ploughing society event at Priddy near Cheddar gorge. The main event is a ploughing match but coupled with it is a hedge laying competition I take part and fly the flag for the National Trust. Its good to show people that the Trust is active outdoors and...
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Ragwort beauty or beast

Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), has a very poor image listed as an injurious weed it is poisonous and although it is not illegal to have it growing on your land it is illegal to allow it to spread to agricultural land, particularly grazing areas or land which is used to produce fodder.  Unfortunately a lot...
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Green woodworking at Parke

Recently on Parke estate the Devon Rural Skills Trust came along to a small coppice area that we work in partnership to learn how to make traditional gate hurdles. These hurdles would once have been made in their thousand to be used on farms to manage their sheep, make up runs, shearing areas, and folds...
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Dormouse monitoring

On Dartmoor, Castle Drogo and some other properties around the country the National Trust takes part in the annual Dormouse survey for the Peoples Trust of Endangered Species (PTES) taking the form of monthly checks between the 15th and 25th of each month between April and October. In Hembury woods our management has helped produce...
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Exploring Fingle woods

One of the most exciting things about the acquisition of Fingle woods is the need to get to know it I had a fair knowledge of some parts but I had never been to most of it. So on Saturday I got up early and went for a long walk in Halls cleave and Coleridge...
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Between the devil and the deep blue sea

 This is the time of year when we take stock of the success of the years Pearl-bordered Fritillary all too short fight period. The news is not very good as once again despite our best efforts in providing the habitat the weather has stepped in with rain overcast skies and strong cold winds, not ideal...
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 The Devon hedge is one of the deffining features…

 The Devon hedge is one of the defining features in the landscape here, they give structure to the lowlands and blend into the stone walls as they approach the heights of Dartmoor. They provide shelter for the animals, corridors for wildlife and sanctuary to many wonderful trees out of the reach of nibbling farm stock. Many...
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Fantastic Fritillaries

Great news to know that the increasingly rare High Brown Fritillary is still flying at Hembury woods as the High Brown is very similar to the Dark Green Fritillary we were lucky to have two national butterfly experts in Jeremy Thomas and Dave Simcox visiting the site who could positively identify them on the wing....
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Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Within conservation there are often difficult decisions to be made around management options. One of these is developing on the side of the gorge below Castle Drogo. For many years Piddledown common has been managed to benefit the Fritillary butterfly....
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Steve saves the day

 On Friday at Lydford there was a small rockfall at Lydford Gorge. The river path was shut for a while while Steve the ranger literally swung into action abseiled down to the fall cleared away some loose soil and stone and checked the site was solid and safe.  The path was then reopened a great...
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Splitting Headache

 Last night was very wet and windy on Dartmoor but this morning the sky had cleared and the sun was shining as I drove into the Parke estate. Then I noticed something was not quite right, 3 Huge limbs had split off one of the Turkey oaks in the Park. So what to do now...
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Dog Attack

Late on Friday I was called out by one of the farmers that has sheep on some fields next to our Holne woods. For the second time in recent months his sheep had been attacked by a dog or dogs. Clearly many people use our woods to exercise their dogs and it would seem the...
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Mellow fruitfulness

Autumn is beginning to show its wares. I spotted this fine show of Fly Agaric on the side of the path to Sharpe Tor at Castle Drogo. These wonderful fungi are a real herald of autumn their bright red colour telling everybody to look out we are poisonous. Although seldom lethal they will make you...
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Chagford Show

The day started wet and grey, but I always think of the old saying wet before 7 dry by 11. Luckily the tent had been put up in the dry so all looked great inside. The gardeners had done a great job setting out a colourful garden with seating. The shop was all set out...
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Chagford Show

Its Chagford show time again! Thursday is Chagford show as this is our home show and alot of it is on our land we always put in a special effort to our stand. This has been rewarded in past years with the best trade stand award, however we only came second last year so this...
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Wild Tribe

Our latest Wild Tribe event took place on the meadows at Fingle Bridge with rivers as a theme. Starting with river dipping everybody got into delving and scooping, kick sampling and looking under stones. All the effort resulted in a good range of river life, Stone fly larva, blood worms, Caddis fly larva, Whirligig beetles,...
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All in a days work

One of the great things about my job is that you never know quite what you are going to be doing next. A call from one of my colleagues a swarm of bees had take up residence on a fence post right next to one of our footpaths. With quite a few people and dogs...
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Gorgeous Lydford

Lydford gorge is at its coolest, calmest best at present. The river Lyd is crystal clear and gently chuckling its way round the rocks. The trees are in their full summer finery framing the river and allowing shafts of sunlight through to provide spotlights for the damsel flies, dragon flies and dippers to flash through....
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Award for Butterfly conservation

Presentation of the certificates. From left Richard Smith, Hazel Coleridge, Carl Allerfeldt, John Mills, Mick Jones, Dr Nigel Bourn (presenting the certificates), and Sue Hutchings. Photo credit Caroline Kelly. On the 25th July a group of Dartmoor landowners and farmers were recognised for their efforts in helping to conserve the theatened Fritillary butterflies found on...
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Wild Tribe

Our latest Wild Tribe event took place on Sunday at its new site near Fingle Bridge. I felt that the site on Fingle meadow was good but in the busier summer months would be difficult with lots visitors about and would not be very ‘wild’. The new site up in the woods is far more...
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