New England Wood is Devon Wildlife Trust’s newest reserve, rescued from development by local campaigning. It could have looked like this desolate area nearby:
Instead it is a beautiful haven for birds and wildflowers. There were flocks of redwings and some marsh tits. Sitting by the River Yealm, it is hard to believe that the A38 is only half a mile away.
Carpets of opposite-leaved golden saxifrage and wild daffodils
There were some fungi with fairytale names: scarlet elf cups, King Alfred’s cakes, and dead moll’s fingers. A study by Schwarze published in 2008 found that dead moll’s fingers, Xylaria longipes, improved the quality of their substrate wood for making violins.
Lucy and I marked WWF Earth Hour yesterday by picking up litter along Bittaford Road. After just half a mile, working on one side of the road, we already had more than we could carry and had to call for a lift. I hold out no hope for the morons who throw their coffee cups and energy drink cans out of their car windows, but perhaps if everyone else picked up a piece of litter each time they walked that way, it wouldn’t look so terrible. It made us sad and angry, as well as wet and muddy.