With the birds now breeding and the reptiles active again, the summer season focuses primarily on looking after our grazing stock (just arrived!), monitoring wildlife, facilitating educational visits from local schools and managing puiblic access. Nightjar surveys have yet to start, but initial indications are that Dartford Warbler numbers are very healthy again after their crash due to the harsh winter in 2011. Although we can manage habitats for species, unfortunately we can't manage the climate for them! Thus summer we will be publishing a Biodiversity Audit of the heaths documenting the conservations status of over 3,000 species found across the site! Please look out for this over the coming months. It will be free to download from thsi site.
Dartmoor ponies are back grazing on Bicton Common, and before long will be joined by Ruby Red cattle. Conservation grazing will also be taking place on Colaton Raleigh Common and Hawkerland over the coming months. The former is a favoured site of the rare Southern Damselfly, a species of European significance. Conservation grazing is a valuable tool for managing heathland and helps to maintain the habitats in good favorable status. Please see the sections of this website dedicated to conservation grazing.
The summer is also a time when we undertake education work, with over 40 children from Classes 4 and 5 at Otterton Church of England Primary School, and Drake’s C of E Primary School from East Budleigh visiting last week alone. The theme of the visits was habitats and their management, and the children also practised making identification keys.
The summer monmtsh are when the Heaths host most events, with the site popular for horse riding, cycling and walking. All these events need mnagement and our staff try hard to balance the needs of society with those of wildlife.
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