Countryside Students visit Dartmoor
15 students from Year 1 and Year 2 of the FdSc Countryside Management course recently enjoyed a Study Tour to Dartmoor, staying in camping pods (wooden structures providing basic accommodation) or camped on the banks of the East Dart, at Brimpts farm in the heart of the National park.
The Study Tour included visits to a range of habitats including rhos pastures (wet valley grasslands) and the restoration of ancient woodland at Fingle Wood. This is being carried out by the Woodland Trust as part of a joint project with the National Trust. Dave Rickwood (Area Manager for the Woodland Trust) gave an overview of the work needed before taking the group to look at specific areas of work. Sue Goodfellow, former Head of Park Management with the Dartmoor National Park Authority took the group to look at the rhos pastures including sighting the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly.
The final morning was spent looking at archaeology as part of land management, including the Bronze Age hut circles of the settlement of Grimspound and the recently excavated stone circle near Sittaford Tor, now the highest known example of a stone circle on the moor. Other land management issues discussed included military use within a National Park, access and the need to protect the nesting areas of rare wild birds such as the curlew and golden plover, and the restoration of blanket bog through the Mires Project. The students also contributed to a number of records for the Cuckoo recording project, being run by Devon Birds, having heard 6 of the birds in different locations.