Piles Copse

Piles Copse is a magical place to spend a sunny evening. On the way, there were some flowers hanging on in the hedgerows, caterpillars and butterflies, and lovely views from Ugborough Beacon. A pair of ravens patrols the beacon: In Piles Copse:   Sunset from Ugborough Beacon Advertisements

Late September

It is too drizzly for good photos, but there are still some flowers. Swathes of autumn hawkbit in the short grass of Moorhaven’s playing field, and something in the verge that I had missed earlier: balm. In the stream at the moorland edge of Wrangaton golf course, there is lots of water mint and a few flowers of devil’s…

Signs of autumn

Autumn hawkbit (above) and camomile on the golf course. At the base of the hedgerows, there are tangles of redshank, knotgrass and water-pepper. There is lots of wild marjoram opposite the top of Green Lane, by the golf course sign, and enchanter’s nightshade at the bottom of Leigh Lane.       The last of the wild…

Haytor

A visit to the nature reserve in an old quarry at Haytor. There were white waterlilies and yellow fringed waterlilies. Fringed waterlilies are native to the Fens and Thames valley, but introduced and increasing in Devon. There were tiny frogs (above), sticklebacks, and a palmate newt. Note his black ‘gloves’ and thread-like tail tip.

Bumblebees and bogs

A surprising find on the moor yesterday, near the head of Ludbrook: ten or more bumblebees in a grassy, mossy nest. There were also lots of dragonflies and damselflies, in particular gold-ringed dragonflies patrolling up and down the brook too fast for photos. Meadow brown and large skipper butterflies were in the long grass beside the lower moorland…

Dartmoor evening

A beautiful evening on the moor. Tiny leaves of sundew are poking through the boggy moss and eyebrights and sheep’s sorrel are flowering.

Ugborough Beacon to Aish

A lovely varied walk around Ugborough Beacon to Three Barrows and back to Moorhaven via Corringdon Ball and Aish.  The grass on the more sheltered eastern face of Ugborough Beacon was full of heath milkwort in colours ranging from ultramarine through white to pink. I checked the bracken above Peek Moor gate to see if…

Leigh Lane and Lud brook

New oak and hazel leaves, holly and blackthorn flowers, and the last few catkins overhead in Leigh Lane. Under foot, bluebells, three speedwells, two violets, and three umbellifers. Yellow dandelions, lesser celandines, and creeping buttercups in Leigh Lane, and gorse and tormentil on the moor. Also in Leigh Lane, pink purslane, herb robert, and campions and white wood…

Easter day on Dartmoor

We saw three lizards, including this beautiful green one on Hickley Plain near the Avon Filtration works. Toadspawn and tadpoles in the stream at Shipley Bridge, and a strange orange fungus. This is the Bog Beacon – Mitrula paludosa – which grows in bogs and shallow streams, rotting fallen leaves. Sanicle is related to cow parsley and hogweed,…

Shopping

Off to Ivybridge via the moor. This has to be the best walk to the shops. Along Leigh Lane, shade-loving wood sorrel is just opening and there are new marsh violets unfolding in the bogs near the Lud brook. The sunshine brings out the vivid reds, greens and yellows of the moss. The mysterious hole, with some new scratches nearby….

Vapourer moth

Collected a few vapourer moth eggs on Ugborough Beacon to try and raise at home in the hope of seeing the ornate caterpillars. I am curious to know if they will be the usual red form or the yellow form that may be specific to Cornwall. The eggs were attached to bracken stalks that largely had been…

Dartmoor

Frogspawn everywhere on the moor today. Some frogs clearly couldn’t wait to reach water. There is still no spawn in our pond, which is disappointing given that the local frogs were happy to use Lucy’s sandpit when it got filled with rainwater a couple of winters ago. Here are two things I cannot identify. The first…