Update for June 2014

Treated bracken area on Colaton RaleighWhere to start for June? On the wildlife front we have completed our annual Dartford Warbler surveys for 2014, with those of Nightjars, butterflies and the Southern damselfly on-going. June has largely been a gloriously sunny month and all species groups appear to be doing well. In addition, detailed National Vegetation Classification (NVC) surveys have been completed of Bicton Common and the lower Otter Valley. The former was commissioned to provide baseline data on the vegetation prior to introducing grazing onto this Common in 2015, with the latter informing the development of the Lower Otter Restoration Project (see main River Otter tab for more details).

On the subject of grazing developments, in May we introduced 12 Dartmoor ponies onto Dalditch Plantation which are doing well, whilst our usual herd of Devonshire Red cattle returned to Colaton Raleigh Common in early June, initially at our Southern damselfly site. We also heard this month that we have planning permission from the Planning Inspectorate to complete our fencing works on Bicton Common. We anticipate that this will be concluded in the autumn (2014).

The good dry weather has been perfect for catching up with chemical treatment of scrub regrowth cleared in the winter, with the prolongued dry spell also allowing us to do some remedial access works to improve the state of a number of key car parks, including Four Firs, Uphams and the Model Airfield.

June was also a big month for public engagement. At the start of the month over 200 primary school children from locals schools visited the heaths hosted by us, where they undertook a range of educational activities related to wildlife and countryside management (see Schools' Page for more details). We also continued our Friends of the Commons programme of events, with a butterfly walk, a trip to Bicton Common, an evening 'special' on woodland management and an early morning Dartford Warbler walk all very well attended. Please view our events programme for forthcoming events which includes hunting for Nightjars and moth trapping!

What does July hold in store? We will, of course, be continuing our usual heathland management programme which will involve bracken rolling. However, one big change in store is the installation of dog bins at key car park sites which we hope will improve the environment for people and wildlife.



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