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…

National Tribe Wild Tribe teams conquer 10 Tors

WT 45 finishNational Trust Wild Tribe 45 mile team approach the finish

Pete Davies, our Area Ranger in the Plym Valley and myself (Adrian Colston, General Manager for Dartmoor) have just got back from the annual 10 Tors expedition on Dartmoor. The National Trust had three teams entered and we worked closely again all year with Torquay Boys Grammar School who also had three team entered.

The weather over the weekend was truly awful – very windy and dozens of really lumpy showers. Despite this we managed to get all six of our teams (six young people in each) around intact. A brilliant achievement – well done to all the participants and a bit thanks to all our trainers and helpers. Here are a few photos from the weekend along with a link to our 10 Tors photo gallery.

Continue reading…

 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 are archaeological features going back to the middle ages, marking landownership and parish boundaries. Many are dilapidated now and their future is not bright but the National Trust is not just about restoring and maintaining old buildings we do the same for the countryside using the old skills part of this is training people the picture shows a group from the Devon Rural Skills Trust who I was teaching turf hedging with a restored section behind them. 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 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
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


Peregrine watch point goes live in the Plym Valley


The dedicated group of over 30 Volunteers are again drawing up their rota. With the help of our ranger Simon Garland they are overseeing the successful nesting of the pair of Peregrine Falcons in the Plym Valley. The birds were likely nesting in Cann Quarry shortly after its creation as a result of slate mining which ceased 1911. The peregrine watchers have given the birds 24hour protection since 2001 following two separate poisoning attempts. Each year this amazing team experience a heady mixture of drama, excitement and expectation as these masters of the sky settle down to breed and this year is no exception. A young male from last year’s brood has remained with the adults over the winter but is now out staying his welcome! Continue reading…