Go Batty in the Woods

Do you often find yourself asking: What’s the point of bats? Do bats suck blood? Are bats blind? What on earth is echolocation?

If the answer is yes, then a night going batty in the woods is just the thing for you.

Come and join the NT Ranger for a night walk through Plym Bridge Woods to learn more about these mysterious creatures.


Thursday 23 August 8pm til 10pm


Meet in the National Trust car park in Plymbridge Woods (Grid ref: SX 524 585)

What else do I need to know?

To book, call 01752 341377

Adults £4, Children £2

Wear sturdy shoes and bring a torch. If you have your own bat dectector, bring that along too.

Local author Tania Crosse to sign copies of her new book at Lydford Gorge

Local Dartmoor author, Tania Crosse will be signing copies of her new book at Lydford Gorge shop on Sunday 12 August between 11am-3pm. (entry to the shop is free)  Her new book is called ‘The wrong side of Happiness’ and is set in the late 1880’s in and around Tavistock on the western edge of Dartmoor, seven miles from Lydford Gorge. 


A West Country farm labourer, Emmanuel Ladycott, and his dairymaid daughter, Tresca, lose their jobs on the land, and head for Tavistock where Emmanuel hopes to join the hundreds of navvies working on the new railway line through the town. Lodging together in a tiny attic room, Tresca is determined to forge a new life among the overcrowding and poverty of Bannawell Street.  Emmanuel is dismissed from the railway, and Tresca doesn’t know whether to blame her father or his Irish foreman, Connor O’Mahoney. Torn apart by her conflicting emotions, events spiral out of control, leaving Tresca broken and on the brink of despair. Will she find the strength and courage to fight for her future, and when help steps in from an unexpected source, will it bring her salvation or further tragedy?



Classic Cars at Castle Drogo


Fathers sometimes get left out when it comes to being spoiled so here’s your chance to have a fun day out with your Dad and let him know how special he is. At Castle Drogo on Sunday 17 June the whole family can enjoy themselves and you can make sure you celebrate Father’s Day in style with our classic car event. Continue reading…

Wild Tribe 35

Eight months of preparation and twelve training events paid off last weekend for the National Trust’s 35 mile ‘Wild Tribe’ team who, just like the 45 mile team (See the excellent post by Aggie Fielding), successfully completed the 2012 Ten Tors Challenge.

The 35 mile ‘Wild Tribers’, along with approximately 400 other teams, began their Challenge at 0700 on Saturday morning – Two rounds from the 105mm Howitzers and a three helicopter flypast signaled the start! From then on it was all down to the team.

Following Route C, one of 26 different routes set by the Challenge designers, Team C3040 made their way to Oke, Shilstone, Sittaford, Beardown, South Hessary, Black and Staple Tors on the first day. After a night under canvas and some well deserved food, all cooked by themselves, they set off early on Sunday morning to complete their final three Tors: Great Mis, Lynch and Kitty.

With the Ten Tors climbed, and 35 miles walked, all that remained for the team was the much sought after finish line which they duly crossed at 1244. It was a wonderful effort by an excellent, determined and committed team.

Helping them with their training and watching them develop as a team has been a wonderful experience. I can only thank ( in picture order, left to right ) Jonathan, Matt, Connor, George, Alice and Jess for their amazing efforts and contributions to a successful ‘Wild Tribe’. 35 miles in less than twenty hours of walking, carrying all their overnight equipment, over the rugged terrain of Dartmoor is an impressive achievement and I am proud of them all.


Bees and Morris Dancers at Castle Drogo

Come along to Castle Drogo this Sunday 20 May between 11am and 4pm for our bee day in the orchard. There will be the chance to explore our young orchard and meet our resident bee keeper. There will also be activities such as candle rolling and bee house making and we have story telling in the orchard throughout the day.


Castle Drogo will also be host to around 160 Morris Dancers who will be at Drogo as part of Raddon Hill Morris’s festival of dance. They will be dancing at Visitor Reception and outside the castle from 11am-12pm and from 1.15-2.15pm.

A new tree for Lee Moor

Residents of the Dartmoor village of Lee Moor have a new tree on their village green. Working closely with members of the Shaugh Parish Council and helped by pupils from Shaugh Prior Primary School, the Plym Valley Ranger team have planted a Copper Beech.

This ornamental Beech (Fagus sylvatica purpurea), which was selected by the Parish Council, is cultivated from the European Beech and is distinguished by its purple leaves. In order to protect it from grazing animals, the Rangers also built an oak tree guard.

‘Wild Tribe’ spend time on the South Moor

Nuns Cross Farm was a welcome sight for members of the National Trust ‘Wild Tribe’ 35 Mile Ten Tors team last weekend. Following a slightly wet Friday night spent out on the moor, the team had risen early and set about achieving their 28km training route.

By the time they reached the Farm, the team had scaled the heights of Ryders Hill, Eastern White Barrow, Great Gants Head and had even had time to pay a visit to Duck’s Pool. All that remained for them was the final leg back to Combestone Tor via Whiteworks and Hexworthy.



The Rangers Leigham Leap

Rangers from the Plym Valley celebrated the recent Leap day by taking a ‘Local Leap’ with their local primary school. Using their time to volunteer for the Leigham School community, they helped out with a number of projects designed to help the children enjoy their outdoor environment.

Rangers, teachers and pupils spent the afternoon carving chairs, cutting stepping stones and creating den spaces within the school grounds. There was even time to help one of the school governers with benches for the school’s outdoor stage!

Half Term at Castle Drogo

Looking for something to do this half term? Come along to Castle Drogo and see the house waking up for the new season. There have been some dramatic changes over the winter. We have had to Acro prop the scullery and after some pieces of concrete came away from the ceiling outside the larder we have unfortunately had to close this area as it is now unsafe. This is a clear example of how serious the water ingress to the castle has become and why we need to act now to save it. For more information visit http://tinyurl.com/6lvaxj5 The castle is open every day from 11am to 4pm until Sunday 19 February and then is open at weekends until Saturday 10 March when it will be open for the new season.


There is also lots to do outside this week to make the most of the slightly warmer weather. Why not come and take a walk around the gardens to see if you can spot the first signs of spring. We have a trail around the garden and grounds with lots of activities to do inspired by Dartmoor and the Drogo estate including a scavenger hunt and the chance to become an animal estate agent. The trail is available for £1.50 from visitor reception and includes a prize at the end. On Sunday 19 February at 10am you can join the Teign Valley Wild Tribe at Fingle Bridge Meadows were there will be lots of hands on activities to get involved with (£2 per adult, £4 per child, booking advisable on 01647 433356).


Last Sunday saw the annual Drogo 10 race around the stunning Teign gorge (see last weeks blog). I entered for the first time this year, in fact it was the first race I’ve ever ran! After the pain had subsided it was a very empowering experience which I would recommend to anyone, not just the super fit. Everyone was friendly and supportive, it was well organised and I’ll defiantly be back again next year. Well done to everyone involved.