Killerton canters on with conservation grazing

1_Killerton conservation grazing_Dartmoor ponies_credit Ellie Preece sm

This week a herd of 10 Dartmoor ponies took up temporary residence on an extinct volcano at Killerton estate near Exeter.

Dolbury Hill is the tree-lined backdrop to Killerton House, known locally as ‘The Clump’, which is steeped in 3000 years of history. The hill’s rare geology and relics of an Iron Age Hill Fort have led it to be designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Scheduled Monument.

Ed Nicholson, Killerton’s Lead Ranger, explains why grazing Dartmoor ponies have had such a positive impact on the nature conservation of this sensitively managed area. Continue reading…

By-The-Wind-Sailors

BTWS1

These beautiful little chaps are currently being washed up on the beach at South Milton Sands as a result of the strong winds we’ve been having.

They are By-The-Wind-Sailors (Velella velalla) a colonial hydroid (related to jellyfish).  They’re up to 10cm in length little tentacle hang down from the disc to catch food.

The little ‘sail’ can run from north-west to south-east on the disc or south-west to north-east meaning they move in different directions in the wind to help prevent large strandings.

David Bullock, head of nature conservation for the National Trust, said: “They are wonderful. The surfers call them bluebottles because of their sting.

“They turn up in their thousands after strong southwesterlies, having drifted across the Atlantic. One of my many epiphany moments as a kid rock pooling was finding them on Rhosilli beach and I still think about it now.

“I found some last September at Kynance Cove. It’s a good sign that other stuff is in the strandline such as sea beans and other drift seeds from the Amazon. It’s time to go beachcombing!”

Let us know if you see anymore as you might well see some more on other beaches in the South West.

Avebury nominated for Countryfile award

Avebury stones

Avebury has been shortlisted as Heritage Site of the Year in the BBC Countryfile Magazine awards 2014/15. Vote for Avebury here >>>http://www.countryfile.com/awards2014-15

Well known for its henge which is cared for by the National Trust, as well as other monuments in the wider landscape, Avebury was chosen against some strong competition for the awards shortlist. Now the poll has been opened up for the public to vote for their favourite places. Continue reading…