Pupils explore the East Devon heathland and learn about biodiversity

24th May 2013

Pupils explore the East Devon heathland and learn about biodiversity


Newton Poppleford children

Pupils and teachers from Newton Poppleford Primary School enjoyed an activity filled day at East Budleigh Common with staff and volunteers from Clinton Devon Estates. Pupils learned about the formation of the heathland, the importance of its biodiversity and how management is required to conserve this unique habitat.

The children visited different areas of the heath to discover the species living in the habitat, the techniques used to manage the land and how thousands of years of human use have helped forge the current identity of this highly threatened ecosystem. In addition, the children were taught about sustainability and the importance of recycling.

The pupils also met Woody the rhynchosaur, an ancestor of the dinosaurs dating back 240 million years. Woody was an inhabitant of the Triassic era when torrential mountainous rivers would have eroded and shaped the pebbles forming the Pebblebeds upon which the heathland would later develop.

Newton Poppleford children2

Before lunch children were also given the chance to use some of the machinery used in the maintenance of the land such as a water ‘fogger’, a piece of safety equipment that  ensures  managed burns undertaken to create a diversity of habitat structure are adequately controlled.

School teacher Angela Stephen said “It’s amazing. We’ve had so many wonderful opportunities. The children love using the equipment like the fogger but they are also learning lots about habitats. It’s so important to learn about heathland and looking after the environment that is on our doorstep.”

Budleigh Salterton and Otterton primary schools will also be spending a day on the heaths to learn about biodiversity and the tools used to maintain the heathland for a prosperous future. All the school pupils and teachers are being transported to the common in a coach funded by the Otter Valley Association.

View some of the amazing work done by the children on the Schools' Page.

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