Natural Devon Newsletter


Newsletter 4 - May 2015

Natural Devon is a collaboration of all those working to ensure that a healthy natural environment underpins a high quality of life across the county.    

To find out more visit our website,, read our Prospectus and please get involved.  Contacts  for specific themes can be found in the newsletter below and on our website..  Alternatively contact Sarah Jennings, Natural Devon Coordinator -


'Welcome to another edition of Natural Devon's newsletter with a round up of activities and opportunities.  It's a wonderful season to get out and about in the Devon countryside and green spaces and so many people are working to keep them special. It is more important than ever that we work together to make that effort as effective and efficient as possible. Happy days ahead!'

Suzanne Goodfellow, Chair, Natural Devon

Ministerial visit

Lord de Mauley (under Secretary of State for the natural environment and science) met Natural Devon's Board on January 16th to discuss work to date and key issues.  Follow up discussions were held with Government on funding for AONBs and Naturally Healthy work.



Project pipeline

We are currently developing a project pipeline in order to ensure that we have a list of priority projects to share with funders (incl the LEP), have projects 'on the shelf' when funding becomes available, help to link those with ideas for similar projects across the county. 

The current list will be available on the website within the next few weeks.  If you haven't already submitted details of ideas please contact Sarah Jennings for a copy of the form.

Heritage Lottery Fund - apply!

The HLF team is looking for more natural heritage projects at ALL scales.  They are keen to ensure that people are aware that smaller scale applications to Sharing Heritage and Our Heritage schemes can be simple with no application windows, assessment in 8 weeks and advice from HLF staff.  To find out more see their website and contact them for advice. 

They are also recruiting for two new SW regional committee members - if you are interested then please contact HLF. 

SITA Trust

SITA Trust supports community and environmental improvement projects through the Landfill Communities Fund.  This summer the Trust will be launching its new Accessing Nature programme which will fund capital works to increase and improve opportunities to access the great outdoors.  For more information on this and other funding streams see their website. 

Local Enterprise Partnership

Sue GoodfellowHarry Barton and Mark Robins continue to represent the LNP on various LEP groups and will ensure that partners are aware of any funding opportunities.  If you have any questions please contact them directly. 


Sustainable Seas

Our Sustainable Seas Action Plan was signed off by the Board in April.  An Executive Summary will be available soon.  Work continues on developing a marine data hub, a Devon research register and marine project register.  To find out more or get involved please contact Richard White at Devon Wildlife Trust. 

 The consultation on the second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones has recently ended.  Two are proposed in Devon - Bideford to Foreland Point and Hartland Point to Tintagel.  

Leads for the Sustainable Seas priority theme:  Richard White (DWT) and Professor Martin Attrill (Plymouth University)

- Projects being run by Natural Devon members

Westward Ho! Group

Clean Marine

Clean Marine, a pilot project to combat the issues of marine litter in North Devon, is well underway with 12 beach cleans completed, other exciting plans in the pipeline and 180 volunteers signed up to date. To find out more email  call 01271 388893 or visit the website.

Naturally Healthy


 Devon Naturally Healthy Week 23rd - 31st May

You should be aware that Natural Devon partners are launching the first ever Devon Naturally Health Week over May half term.  The aim is simply to inspire people to get outside and feel better!  Events across the county, ideas for activities and posters promoting Devon's Natural Health Service are on our website. Let us know what you did and send a pic for the website (email Sarah Jennings) or tweet us at @devoncc #nathealthydevon.

Sue Goodfellow will be helping to run a workshop on this theme at the Devon Care Providers conference in June as well as speaking at the Active Devon Outdoor event (see below).

Launch of research into barriers

Over 50 people attended our workshop last November to discuss the results of research into barriers preventing people from using the natural environment.  Ideas from the workshop are being taken forward via our Naturally Healthy Working Group.  For a summary of the key messages for providers as well as further information on the workshop and research see our website.

Contacts for Naturally Healthy are currently :  Patsy Temple (Public Health lead) and Sarah Jennings     

- Projects & events being run by Natural Devon members

Walking for Health Cullompton

Walking for Health in Devon

Health walk schemes across Devon continue to flourish.  To find out more see, our Naturally Healthy pages or contact: Hannah Colston at Active Devon on 01392 263674.

Active Devon - Get Out Get Active Event, 4th June

Active Devon is running a workshop to facilitate networking between the providers of informal outdoor activities and help promote Naturally Healthy.  Contact 

National Park health projects 

Dartmoor Naturally Healthy Project and Exmoor's Moor to Enjoy are continuing to develop and do great work in exploring how to increase the health and wellbeing benefits of our National Parks.  To find out more contact the coordinators - details on our website.

cycle week

Outdoor Learning


Devon schools project - outdoor learning and health 

The new two year Naturally Healthy Devon Schools project has just got underway in north and east Devon investigating the benefits of learning in natural environments  with an additional focus on the health benefits.  To find out more see our website.  

 A schools conference is being organised for October which will headline our autumn Outdoor Learning week. For more information please contact David Weatherley

For more information on the work of Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group see the website.

Contacts for Outdoor Learning:  David Weatherley (schools improvement adviser and DESWG Chair) and Orlando Rutter (DNPA) 

Farming with Nature / Resilient Wetlands


Devon Pollinator Week - 11th - 19th July

Natural Devon partners are organising a Pollinator week in July (to coincide with a proposed national pollinator week).  If you have any ideas for events / demonstration farms / open gardens etc please contact Andrew Whitehouse at Buglife.  We also need an inspired name for the week - any ideas to Andrew or Sarah J please!

- Projects & events being run by Natural Devon members

Devon Farming and Environment event

 On 17th February over 100 people attended a really useful Devon Farming and Environment event at Newton St Cyres to discuss profitable farming, environmental protection, soil management and compliance under the new CAP.  More info on FWAG SW website.

2011 Ilfracombe Training Course

Catchment sensitive farming in North Devon

The Catchment Sensitive Farming Partnership in North Devon has been having some great successes with reducing diffuse pollution from agriculture.  In 2015 work in the Barnstaple Yeo catchment will be designed to tackle pesticides in drinking water, whilst in the Taw Torridge Estuary the focus will be to improve water quality for shellfish.  For more info see the North Devon Biosphere website.

dit creek

 South West Water Projects

Ofwat’s acceptance of South West Water’s Business Plan for the period 2015-20 is good news for Devon's environment with key investments going ahead across a range of water and wastewater drivers including:

  • Catchment-focused drainage management schemes alongside partner agencies and organisations (‘Downstream Thinking) in Braunton, Torrington, Exeter, Torquay and Exmouth
  • Catchment Management (‘Upstream Thinking’) schemes delivered by partner organisations on the rivers Exe, Dart, Tamar, Barnstaple Yeo, and at Fernworthy Reservoir and in the Otter Valley.
  • Wastewater treatment works (Phosphorous and Ammonia control) and river catchment schemes at Tiverton, Cullompton, Willand, Honiton, Okehampton, South Molton, Ivybridge and Moretonhampstead.
  • Increased protection in river catchments supporting shellfish waters with schemes on the Taw and Torridge, Exe, Teign, Dart, Salcombe, Avon and Yealm.

Additional investments are to: reduce odour issues from wastewater sites, address sewer flooding, adop private pumping stations and upgrade former private sewers.  More details can be found at:


Torridge Riverfly volunteers take off

A Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area's Riverfly project to check on the health of North Devon’s River Torridge has got off to a flying start. 34 volunteers have been trained to take monthy samples of stream invertebrates.  Data feeds into Environment Agency monitoring and acts as a deterrent to potential polluters. Further volunteers are being trained this year.  Find more here

Contacts for Farming with Nature: Robin Milton (Exmoor farmer),  Paul Cottington (NFU) and Roland Stonex (SW FWAG). 

Contacts for Resilient Wetlands are  Mark Rice (EA) and Orlando Venn (NE)    .

Wood for Good


Devon ash dieback (Chalara) workshop

Ash dieback is a disease that is already devastating the countryside in parts of Suffolk and Kent.  In the next decade or two we are highly likely to lose nearly all our ash in Devon.  Devon Hedge Group, Natural Devon and Bicton College held a workshop  on 25 March 2015 to discuss how best to react to this issue.  Actions from the meeting can be found on our website.  Also see the Forestry Commission's latest document on the management of ash dieback in SW England. 


On May 11th the Devon Hedge Group facilitated a workshop for LNP / LEP partners to co-ordinate activity relating to woodfuel from small farm woodlands and hedges, ensuring that funding opportunities are not overlooked or missed.  The notes from the workshop are available here.

Silvanus is developing a wood fuel bid for the county for both the LNP and LEP.

Contacts for Wood for GoodCorinna Woodall (Tamar Valley AONB) and Mark Prior (FC)           

- Projects & events being run by Natural Devon members

Countryside Stewardship event for the forestry sector.

The Forestry Commission is organising a workshop on 1 July, 10.00-14.00 in Cullompton (also on 30th July in Westonbirt) to provide an overview of the scheme for local foresters, landowners and agents. To book a place email by Fri 12th June. 


Devon Year of the Hedge 2014 update

During 2014, 30 hedge events were held to celebrate Devon Year of the Hedge.  The final event was a visit to Racedown Farm, Marshwood where 40% of the firewood sold comes from coppicing farm hedges.  Articles were published in Western Morning News including and   For more information on Devon Hedges contact Tom Hynes.  

Devon Hedges publication cover shot

DEVON HEDGES - now published!

A comprehensive new guide to their history, wildlife and management as now been published by the Devon Hedge Group and Devon County Council.  Any profit will go to the work of the Devon Hedge Group to promote the understanding and appreciation of Devon hedges   Tel. 01803 865913. 

Other news......

Prestigious award for Devon moth expert

This month the Linnean Society of London is awarding Bob Heckford the H.H. Bloomer Award at a ceremony in London.  This award is given to an amateur naturalist who has made an important contribution to biological knowledge.  Bob is a micro moth expert and has a moth named after him (Ectoedemia heckfordi - see pic) which he discovered in the Dart Valley.

EH moth
James and Conrad Blackdown Hills Natural Futures

Blackdown Hills AONB - Natural Futures

Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project is now up and running. James Maben (Manager), pictured on the right, and Conrad Barrowclough, joined the AONB team in January. Over the next three years the project aims to help local communities to build skills and confidence to set up their own natural heritage projects.   For more information and contact details visit:

A farmers workshop in the Avon Valley

Busy bats

The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project  had a busy first six months.  As well as visiting over 50 farms, the project has been starting work with 22 schools and community groups.  The HLF funded project, which hopes to secure its five year funding in September, is also developing a series of ‘bat beacons’ to involve local communities with the first being established at Berry Head. 

South West Coast Path - Resurfacing and a new fence is complete at Penrose

Repair work to the SW coast path

The South West Coast Path’s £1m Coastal Communities Fund project is well underway with repair work to the storm damaged Coast Path.  The South West Coast Path Association is leading this project over the next two years, alongside the South West Coast Path Team, Local Authority partners and the National Trust. Funds will help with 32 urgent repair works, including 12 in Devon, in addition to a range of projects providing information boards and signage, events and marketing. For more information visit

Call for dissertation projects

In our October Newsletter, we requested ideas for projects that could be taken forward as a dissertation by students at Exeter or Plymouth Universities.  Please let us have details of any new ideas for our register of student projects.  Email

bog hoverfly
beaver Otter

A legal beaver in the River Otter!

(pic: Chris Townend)..

Links to Devon partnerships

Devon Catchment Partnerships

Devon Countryside Access Forum  

Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group

Devon Green Infrastructure Partnerships

Devon Hedge Group

Devon Landscape Policy Group

Devon Maritime Forum

Devon National Parks

Devon's Protected Landscape Partnerships

Devon Wildlife Strategy Group

This newsletter has been sent to you because you have expressed an interest in the issues covered by the Devon Local Nature Partnership.  To provide contributions to the next newsletter or unsuscribe please email