Natural Devon Newsletter (Devon LNP)

Local Nature Partnership

Newsletter 5 - January 2016

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 -


Update from Suzanne Goodfellow, Natural Devon's Chair

Happy New Year to Everyone! I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. Thanks to you, we had a great year in 2015 – including a ministerial visit, Naturally Healthy Week, developing a project pipeline, supporting project bids, working with partners such as the LEP, input into the devolution bid and representing LNPs in various national discussions. 2016 promises to be just as busy and productive. We welcome new Board members and thank Elaine Cook, Chief Executive of Devon Communities Together, for all the work she has carried out with the Board especially in reconnecting people with nature.  Lyn Winter from North Devon Voluntary Services is taking Elaine's Place on the Board .

The impact of recent weather has emphasised the importance of the natural environment to Devon’s people. It is only by working in partnership across sectors that we can create a sustainable future for our wonderful county.  Let’s enjoy working together effectively in 2016!

Any issues / questions to raise with the LNP's Board?

Natural Devon's Board brings together leaders from a wide range of sectors including agriculture, health, wildlife, planning, business, academia and education.  The Board meet four times a year and meeting dates are on the website.  If you have any issues, ideas or questions to put to the Board please email Sarah Jennings.  Next meetings are January18th and April 18th.


health banner

2016 events

- If you are interested in sponsoring any of these events please contact Sarah Jennings


18th March  - DESWG Conference - School improvement through outdoor learning and sustainability.  Buckfast Abbey

To book a place please email David Weatherley.  For further details see the conference flyer.

Late April - What Nature Does for Devon - Natural Devon Conference

Multi sectoral conference with a mix of presentations, workshops and displays.  Date to be confirmed asap.  To reserve a place please email  

May - Devon Naturally Healthy Month

A month of activities which will encourage everyone to get outside and be 'Naturally Healthy'.  If you are organising an event, would like to be a sponsor or have ideas to discuss please contact Sarah Jennings for further details, including a JPEG of the banner.    



July - Devon Pollinators Month

A month promoting things we can all do to benefit Devon's pollinators.  Events include a  Meadow Festival at Goren Farm in the Blackdown Hills AONB on Saturday 9th July.  Again if you are organising an event, would like to be a sponsor or have ideas to discuss please contact Sarah Jennings

 - Details of Board, Executive and other meetings are on Natural Devon's website.  lick to edit this placeholder text.

Strategic updates

Government 25 year Environment Strategy

Last autumn Sue and Sarah represented LNPs at workshops held to kick off work on the new 25 Year Environment Strategy.  A draft Strategy should be out this spring and Natural Devon will feed into the consultation process.  Information will be placed on the LNP website when available.      

Devon devolution bid to Government

As part of a move towards the greater devolution of powers and budgets away from Westminster, the Government has invited all local authorities in England to develop local proposals.  Devon and Somerset's local authorities have been working closely with Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership on an initial submission. Devon, Somerset and Plymouth LNPs are pushing for environmental issues to be part of the submission and have produced a paper setting out five environmental proposals for inclusion.    For more information see link under 'news' at   

Local Enterprise Partnership - resilience & natural capital investment

The Heart of the South West LEP has commissioned research to look at the importance of the environment as a driver for economic growth and put forward recommendations for encouraging greater investment in the environment.  To find out more contact Mark Robins at the RSPB.  Joint work on a natural capital investment strategy is also being discussed with the LEP.  Similar work is being carried out across the country including by Surrey and Northern Upland Chain LNPs.  Updates on this work will be on the LNP website shortly.   

Natural Devon's priority strategic projects

A list of priority strategic projects is being developed and discussed with the LEP and other partners.  Projects include:  Growth of the Wood Sector, Agricultural Resource Management (soils, water), Green Infrastructure Funds, Local Food & Communities and Environmental Training Placements for Young People.  For more information, including leads for these potential projects, see the website


Sustainable Seas

The Sustainable Seas Action Plan highlights the need to develop a central hub for marine environmental data.   Following discussions, DASSH (the UK archive for marine species and habitat data), is developing a web-based biodiversity marine data portal for Devon.  Work should be finished this spring.  To find out more contact Richard White at Devon Wildlife Trust.

In December Devon Maritime Forum held a successful conference on Understanding, Managing and Coping with Coastal Change.  See DMF's website for more details.

The Exe Estuary Winter Forum is being held on 9th February at 6.30pm.  See the Exe Estuary Partnership website for more information.

Naturally Healthy

wild swimming

The Naturally Healthy Working Group met in July with updates from the National Park projects, Active Devon and the Naturally Healthy Schools project.  See the webpages for minutes and more information on Naturally Healthy work.

The next meeting of the group is on February 11th, 2pm at Haven Banks. Active Devon will lead a workshop looking at opportunities coming out of the Government's new Strategy for Sport.  If you would like to attend please email Sarah Jennings.
Government Sport Strategy 
Sport England – Getting Active Outdoors – New insight from research  

Naturally Healthy Case Studies have been produced.  If you have a story that could be written up please contact Sarah.

holly tdc

Inspired by the Devon LNPs 2015 Naturally Healthy week Teignbridge District Council ran a summer programme of exercise classes in the green space around Old Forde House. These lunchtime events were organised by the office Health and Wellbeing Group as part of wider plans to promote a healthy and productive workplace.


Green Infrastructure


Natural Devon’s Green Connections working group met in July to share knowledge and tools for delivering green infrastructure (e.g. parks, allotments, cycle routes, rights of way).  See the minutes for more information.  To join the group contact Jonny Miller at TDC. 

The working group has submitted project ideas for the Natural Devon project pipeline and are working with partners to find new ways to fund exciting projects such as the Clyst Valley Trail on the edge of Exeter.

 A paper outlining issues around GI funding has been drafted and shared with the LEP.

- Work being led by Natural Devon members

Cycle routes

The Stover Trail  which connects Newton Abbot and Bovey Tracey was formerly opened last July. This is the latest section of a longer trail to Moretonhamstead and a wider network of trails across Devon. For further information visit  + watch Bikeability is the Start of your Journey film 

 Promoting tourism in Devon

An exciting new social media campaign has just been launched by DCC and Visit Devon promoting tourism in Devon and our amazing cycling and walking opportunities.   


Safeguarding European Sites  

Increased housing in and around the Exeter area is increasing the recreational pressure on sensitive European Sites such as the Exe Estuary and Pebblebed Heaths.  In order to protect these sites other recreational areas are being created or enhanced (known as 'Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace').  In Exeter a new Masterplan is being prepared for the Valley Parks to improve their recreational value.  The Masterplan is being informed by visitor surveys and an autumn fair.  For more information see Exeter City Council's website or contact Simon Bates, GI Manager for the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point.

Outdoor Learning

Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group members have been organising their spring schools conference which will be held on 18th March.  See links under the Events list above. 

The group has also been developing a project on Training Placements for Young People.  More details will be available soon.   

- Work being led by Natural Devon members


The Blackdown Hills Natural futures project.....

......has been running a training scheme during 2015 which helps participants get practical experience of ecological surveying and conservation work to prepare for a career in the environment sector.  See

Natural Connections ......

.....held their Key findings Conference at Plymouth Uni on Nov 12th.  For more information follow the Natural Connections project on Twitter   

Sea Green Schools® - be inspired by the Sea!

Students that have qualified in Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust marine conservation based qualification (Sea Green School Leader) have been teaching, engaging and inspiring children using the UK’s stunning marine environment. For further information visit


Farming with Nature / Resilient Wetlands

Food for Life

Food for Life helps schools make good food the easy choice for everyone and runs a series of training sessions for school staff throughout the year. Schools such as Princetown Primary and Highweek Community Primary have saved seeds to use this year and are learning about the growing cycle. Countess Wear Primary School has harvested produce from the school garden to use in  Family Leaning cooking sessions. To get involved go to:

An Agricultural Resource Management Project is being developed by the LNP's farming and wetlands leads.  This aims to strengthen links between research (e.g. at Rothamsted) and farmers in order to improve soil and water management.  To find out more contact Roland Stonex at FWAG SW.

Catchment Partnership update

Two of Devon's four Catchment Partnerships (leading on Water Framework Directive issues as part of the LNP) held workshops towards the end of 2015 in order to share learning and discuss potential new projects. 

Projects discussed at the North Devon Catchment Partnership event included Exeter University's Sustainable Intensification Platform, The North Devon  Biosphere Estuary Project, Catchment Sensitive Farming work  Torridge Headwaters Facilitation Project (contact Debs Deveny), Freshwater Pearl Mussel work and invasive species work.   The Catchment Partnership's Action Plan is being finalised over the next few months.  For more information contact Lisa Schneidau at Devon Wildlife Trust.

Presentations at the East Devon Catchment Partnership event included East Devon Catchment Sensitive Farming, Upstream Thinking on the Otter and Exe, Exe Estuary Partnership, Heart of Exmoor, Barle Crayfish Project. River Otter Beaver Trial, Marine Conservation Zones and East Devon Archaeological Project.  Again an Action Plan is being developed.  For more information contact Pete Burgess at Devon Wildlife Trust. 


- Work being led by Natural Devon members

fwag otter

FWAG South West's Devon Bronze Otter Trophy 1985-2015

 The 2015 finalist farms were an incredibly diverse mix of farms and farming systems. Comparing them proved to be such a challenge that judges decided to award a joint first place to - Mr Andy Bradford, Brimpts Farm, Dartmeet, Princetown, Devon and Kevin & Julie Bateman, Martinsfield Farm, Broadclyst, Exeter

teign valley

Countryside Stewardship

Natural England has collated information on Countryside Stewardship Schemes - see link under 'news' at

Facilitation funding helps to bring farmers, foresters, and other land managers together to improve the environment at a landscape scale.  There are two facilitation fund projects in Devon  Avon Valley Facilitation Group and Torridge Headwater Group (email Debs Deveny).

Applications for next round of  the facilitation fund will be open from 18 January – 18 March 2016.  

Wood for Good


Devon ash dieback (Chalara) action plan

Work on this plan is being led by Rob Wolton (Chair of the Devon Hedge Group).  A draft was discussed at the October LNP Board meeting and the final plan will be shared shortly.  Please email Rob for more information.

Wood sector funding bid development

The LNP/LEP wood group is developing a European bid for funding to develop the wood sector across the LEP area with a focus on wood fuel.  To find out more please contact Mark Prior or Corinna Woodall 

Wood group meeting

24 people attended the Wood for Good meeting in December held at Brimpts Farm, Dartmoor (see FWAG SW Awards above).   The meeting included an update on existing work and funding opportunities; group discussion on (1) farmers and machinery, (2) woodfuel hubs and (3) supplier / consumer networks +  a site visit to the Dartmoor Woodfuel Cooperative wood chipping operation.  See the minutes for a useful overview and contact Corinna Woodall if you'd like to join the group.   

Devon Hedge Group ......

........has a brand new website with management advice, information on events and more..... 

Other updates......

Call for Volunteers

The Woodland Trust is looking for volunteers to support their work with Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank in collecting and securing tree seed from across the UK’s native seed zones. Training and advice from Kew or Woodland Trust staff is available.  See -

Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group is also looking for vols to fill various roles - no special skills or reptile knowledge required!.  If you are interested please contact


bees needs


Buglife and South Devon AONB are working with other organisations and farmers to create a network of B-Lines linking wildflower-rich areas across South Devon, helping our pollinators and other wildlife.  View the B-Lines map here.  To get involved in the project please email

Call for dissertation projects

Please let us have any details of any new ideas for our register of student projects on the Natural Devon website.  Email

Links to Devon partnerships and landscape scale projects

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


Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project

Devon Nature Improvement Area

Avon Valley Facilitation Group



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