Red Rangers

From now on all National Trust Rangers on Dartmoor (and indeed the rest of the South West) will be easily identifiable to everyone as they will be wearing red tops.

Ranger teamSome of the Dartmoor Rangers at Parke today
From l to r: Adrian Colston, Dartmoor General Manager; Mick Jones, Lead Ranger North Dartmoor; Adrian Shaw, Area Ranger Lydford Gorge; Tom Wood, Area Ranger Teign Valley; AJ Bellamy, Lead Ranger South Dartmoor; Pete Davies, Area Ranger Plym Valley and Fred Hutt, Ranger Parke.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Pearl Boardered Fritillary

Pearl Boardered Fritillary

 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 breeding conditions for a small rare butterfly. Some have been seen and with the past few days of sunshine hopefully the late fliers will be able to get out there and lay some eggs in hope of a sunny spring next year.

On the subject of habitat within conservation there are often difficult decisions to be made around management options. One of these conundrums is developing on the side of the gorge below Castle Drogo. Continue reading…

Bluebells on Dartmoor – they are out!

Dartmoor’s bluebells tend to flower later than those in the lowlands – simply because it’s at a higher altitude and the climate is harsher. However once they are out they are usually spectacular.

 

bluebells

Bluebells at Parke

Bluebells are one of the classic flowers of the moor’s woodlands.  The National Trust has a number of brilliant places to see bluebells. Try any of the following woods over the next couple of weeks and you wont be disappointed.

Lydford Gorge
Parke
Teign Valley Woodlands – around Castle Drogo at Fingle Bridge, Fingle Woods, Dunsford Woods
Plymbridge – on the edge of Plymouth
Dewerstone Woods on the Plym near Shaugh Prior
North Wood on the Plym down from Cadover Bridge
Hembury Woods on the Dart
Holne Woods by New Bridge on the Dart

 

Fire engines, police and our local rescue teams at Lydford Gorge

Local rescue charities and branches of emergency services, National Trust and Dartmoor National Park Authority are holding their second safety on Dartmoor day at Lydford Gorge near Tavistock on Sunday 23 June between 10am and 4.30pm.

On the day, there will be the opportunity to look round fire engines, police cars and ambulances plus meet the local fire fighters, police officers, air ambulance crew and rescue dogs. The air sea rescue helicopter will pop in for an appearance during the day as well as the police Oscar 99 and Devon Air ambulance, if jobs allow.  There will be a flypast by a WW2 Spitfire to salute all the emergency services on Dartmoor due at 1pm

 

The day will also include live rescues from the gorge and demonstrations, including red watch cliff rescue from Camelshead Rescue and Dartmoor Rescue.  There will also be an opportunity to meet the Dartmoor Rescue dogs and have a go on emergency simulator machines.

Free admission.  For further details about Lydford Gorge please visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lydford-gorge  or call 01822 820320 or http://www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/

 

Ten Tors Wild Tribe – 35 style

Members of the National Trust’s ‘Wild Tribe’ 35 mile Ten Tors team relax after the first day of their final training session. The team who, along with the ‘Wild Tribe’ 45 team, train with Torquay Boys Grammar School and are supported by NT staff and Rangers, were preparing for the annual Ten Tors event that begins on the 11th May.

Starting at Two Bridges, at just after 7am, the team visited Beardown Tor, Lower White Tor, Sittaford Tor, Shilstone Tor and Sourton Tor before arriving at their overnight campsite at just after 6pm.

An early start the following morning enabled them to visit Chat Tor, Lynch Tor, Great Staple Tor and Great Mis Tor before arriving back at Two Bridges in the early afternoon.

Wild Tribe 35 mile team members, from left to right: Charlie, Tom, Alfie, Finley, Gullie and Callum.

 

 

Dry-Stone Walling with Plym Valley Conservation Volunteers

This Sunday Pete Davies led a small team of volunteers in Plym Bridge Woods, reinstating some of the local archaeology. The wall which follows the Plymouth to Dartmoor tramway along the Western edge of the woods has slowly fallen foul of time and misuse, causing the majority of it to fall away degrading the aesthetic value and leaving loose shale on the path. Under instruction from Pete; Jim, Steve, Tony and the two Joes removed any loose shale and unstable rocks from the top of the wall and meticulously replaced them, reinforcing the base where necessary. The centre was filled in with the loose shale and soil which had slowly built up alongside the wall. Aside from the biting wind the weather was pleasant and didn’t hinder the team, allowing them to make serious headway into improving the site.

The work undertaken on Sunday was the first of many steps; the wall runs for miles and will be a long term project. The important thing is that the first Plym Valley Conservation Volunteers meet was a success. For the first day it was a respectable turn out and everybody enjoyed themselves which bodes well for the future.

The next meet will be on Sunday 12th May 2013 and will involve post and rail fencing in Plymbridge Woods. The group will be meeting at 10am in Plymbridge carpark; if you’re interested in helping out this would be greatly appreciated.

 

Training for the Ten Tors.

Training for the National Trust’s ‘Wild Tribe’ Ten Tors team continued last weekend with a trip to the north moor with Torquay Boys Grammar School.

A circular route starting from Belstone village took in visits to Scarey Tor, East Mill Tor, Wild Tor, Hound Tor and Cosden Beacon.

With good weather conditions and clear visibility supporting the ’45 mile’ team’s excellent progress, there was even time at the end of the day for an additional  climb up Irishmans Wall to the top of Belstone Tor!