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Bovey Tracey Local Group
Throughout the year this group arranges a series of indoor and outdoor activities that are open to all and are advertised in Devon Wildlife Trust's events leaflet and on the events webpage.
Our indoor events, which start on Tuesday 21st October, will be at a new venue, the Methodist Church in Bovey Tracey. The Methodist Church is on the corner of Le Mollay-Littry Way and Station Road, the car park is at the rear of the church and is approached from Le Mollay-Littry Way. The hall abuts the carpark, and the hall entrance faces the road.
Nearby reserves in the Bovey Tracey area are Bovey Heathfield, Chudleigh Knighton Heath, Little Bradley Ponds and Emworthy Mire. Practical workdays take place every Wednesday at one of these reserves, for more information click here.
Please take a moment to sign the petition to save our 'at risk' wildlife
The whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks that live around our coast are some of the most spectacular - and at risk - wildlife. We are campaigning for 17 protected areas around England and Wales - our 'megafauna hotspots'. Pledging your support will help our campaign - please sign our e-action today. We'll take your signatures to the government in 2015 to call for action for our ocean giants.
Invitation to exhibit
Do you have a special wildlife photograph that you would like to share with the local group?
Taken by you, preferably (but not exclusively) in your back garden, or out and about in the UK? A rare bird, a giant slug, a spider munching on a fly or a mating hedgehog - you get the idea - something worthy of an 'ooh!' or an 'aah!' or even an 'urgh!'?
Then why not bring it along to one of our meetings and we will place it on the notice board for all to admire. If you like you can include your name, where and when it was taken and,
if necessary, what it is. No prizes, just the satisfaction of sharing your photographic genius with an admiring audience.
P.S. Don't forget to take your picture home at the end of the evening.
Walks and talks
Otter Country - Tuesday 18th November - a report
Miriam Darlington loves otters – perhaps was an otter in another life and, if she has any choice in the matter, will probably be one again in the next. Her unbounded enthusiasm for this appealing mammal is infectious, and she soon had the near capacity audience captivated. Alternating personal anecdotes, hard scientific facts, references to books such as Tarka the Otter and Ring of Bright Water, and readings from her own book, Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter, Miriam soon had us all keen to pop down to our nearest river and set up camp for the night in the desperate hope of seeing one of these magical creatures. She described how she has travelled the length and breadth of the country in pursuit of otters, has met numerous otter experts, and has helped (reluctantly) at the research facility in Cardiff which dissects and examines many of the otters killed on our roads. She described her passion as a fixation, but her humour and self deprecation kept her talk light and entertaining. Luckily for us, Devon has more otters (about 80) than any other county in the UK and, as Miriam pointed out, although when one goes in search of otters there is a great deal of time spent not seeing them, other fascinating natural wonders are often discovered along the way and, as she said, “It’s the unexpected things that bring the most joy.”
The colourful lives of Devon's marine animals - Tuesday 21st October - a report
Our first winter talk in the new venue at the Methodist Hall in Bovey Tracey went “swimmingly” well, with around 60 people present to hear Paul Naylor give us a fantastic tour of the wildlife occupying the rocks and sandy shores of our Devon coastline. If you think our local seas lack colour then think again. The variety and intensity of the creatures occupying our local seas, rock pools and beaches are easily a match for any tropical reef. With the aid of his own outstanding underwater photography Paul, a marine biologist with a passion for these habitats, gave us many fascinating insights into the lives of these creatures. From “Benny the Blenny” to limpets, muscles and crabs, their habits and behaviours were fascinating. The struggle for survival and the variety of their reproductive habits were more than a match for the script of any soap opera. Our thanks to Paul and all present who helped make our first meeting a great success.
Bees at Buckfast: a visit - Sunday 20 July
Clare Densley, the apiarist at Buckfast, first provided us all with refreshments, then went on to give a fascinating and informative talk about bees and beekeeping.
In 2010 the monks at the abbey decided that they did not wish to continue with commercial beekeeping, instead moving to an educational focus. Clare was pleased about this, as she is able to work much more in harmony with the bees. After a brief account of the evolutionary history of bees (they evolved from an ancestral wasp), Clare described their life history, including the three types: queen, worker and drone. Each worker bee carries out different roles during her lifetime, initially carrying out maintenance tasks within the hive, and only later going out on pollen and nectar collecting sorties.
then dressed ourselves in bee-proof suits and went off to watch a hive
in action. Clare dismantled a hive, explaining that she had chosen the
most pacific brood. We were able to see many of the features that Clare
had described, including seeing the resident queen and watching bees
hatching from their honeycomb cells.
It was a very rewarding afternoon, and particularly pleasing to witness Clare’s obvious love of bees in the way she spoke about them and, especially, her calm and gentle handling of them at the hive.
Claypit Safari - Thursday 5 June
After donning our protective gear and being given a comprehensive health and safety briefing, the group were treated to a two and a half hour whistle-stop tour in three Landrovers, taking in seven different sites. Our hosts, Kevin, Keith and Darren from Sibelco, gave up their free time to demonstrate a real passion for the work that they do in balancing the need to extract the clay economically whilst caring for the local environment and communities.
A visit to the bottom of one vast 160 acre quarry revealed layers of distinctly different seams of clay dating back 30 million years. Some of the clays found here are the only such deposits in the world.
Amongst the wildlife highlights we saw were sand martins nesting in the clay banks, southern marsh orchids, six spot burnet moths and a fleeting glimpse of a grizzled skipper butterfly. We heard how the quarrying stops for the nesting sand martins, and tales of nightjars nesting and kestrel rescues. We visited ponds and heathland created to offset the impact of the quarrying. Sibelco work closely with the Environment Agency, DWT, Natural England and other agencies to ensure the impact of the quarrying on the environment is both managed and monitored.
Our thanks go to Kevin, Keith, Darren and all at Sibelco and, of course, Linda Corkerton on our DWT committee, for arranging a fascinating trip.
A Secret Garden at Haytor - Saturday 31 May
A party of 16 members and friends were shown around a pinetum very close to Haytor, containing over 1,000 specimens of conifers from all over the world. Having recovered from the pleasant surprise of finding such an amazing collection so near a well known tor, the visitors were given a most interesting talk on conifers from the days of dinosaurs to present day development by gardeners, especially the Japanese.
The collection was
started in the 1980s and the various shapes and colours of the now well
established trees create a really beautiful display. If anybody thought
conifers were boring, this collection changed their minds. There is a
possibility of a further visit in the autumn, when many of the trees
will be showing their autumn colours – not all conifers are evergreen.