LNP - lecture, conference and other updates

Local Nature Partnership

Issue No.6

Welcome to the February 2017 issue of Natural Devon's e-newsletter

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.  Please get involved.

Prof Helm

2017 Lecture - Professor Dieter Helm CBE - Natural Capital and Sustainable Growth  

We are delighted to announce that our second annual lecture will be given by Professor Dieter Helm CBE, Fellow in Economics at Oxford University and Chair of the Natural Capital Committee. His recent books include Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet and Nature In the Balance.   The lecture will be held at 6.30pm on Thursday 6 April in Exeter and will discuss why and how the environment should be at the core of economic planning.  To book a place please email Tom.whitlock@devon.gov.uk.


2017 Devon Outdoor Learning Conference

Friday 17 March - Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre

Organised by the Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group (DESWG) this conference is aimed at educators at every stage of learning who seek inspiration and support to develop outdoor learning and environmental education.  The 2016 conference was a great success so book now to avoid disappointment!  See our website for further details and how to book. 


New - Devon Invasive Species initiative

The Devon Japanese Knotweed Forum has now evolved into a Devon Invasive Species Initiative as part of the LNP.   The aims of the initiative can be found on new invasives pages  which will be developed as priorities are agreed.  The Devon Initiative has become one of the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat Local Action Groups allowing us to network nationally and tap into national funding sources if available. Contact Kate Hills khills@southwestwater.co.uk or Jeremy Peirce jpp@jp-associates.co.uk to get involved. 


Natural Capital - Heart of the South West Productivity Plan

Devon, Plymouth and Somerset LNPs have recently met with the Heart of the South West Partnership (which includes Devon and Somerset Local Authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership)  to discuss devolution and the development of the Partnership's Productivity Plan which aim to address the productivity gap between this area and the rest of the UK.  The plan refers to Natural Capital and states that the 'HotSW is the ideal location to trail blaze natural capital-led productivity growth'.  LNP partners are working with the HotSW Partnership to discuss how to make this happen.  The Plan is out for consultation until 10th March. 


Natural Capital - new research project

The South West Partnership for Environment & Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a new initiative funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). A partnership of three research institutions (Plymouth University, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and led by the University of Exeter) SWEEP has secured a £5m award to help delivering economic and community benefits whilst also protecting the beautiful natural resources and the jobs dependent on them in the South West.  The LNPs are a partner in this project and further updates will be provided. 

New Natural Devon Blog + Communications Plan

A new blog has been launched on our website allowing Board members and others to share their views and stimulate debate on current topics.  Our first blog is from our Chair, Suzanne Goodfellow and the March blog will be from David Weatherly, Board lead for Outdoor Learning.  

To help us join up on key messages and campaigns we have developed a simple Communications Plan which gives an overview of Devon LNP activities for 2017 and other key campaigns / partner events.  The Plan will be regularly updated so please email max.anderson@devon.gov.uk to add any key campaigns. 

north devon hartland

North Devon Defra Pioneer Project

The North Devon Biosphere has been chosen as one of a few national 'Pioneers' areas trialling new ways to deliver Defra's 25 year Environment Strategy in both terrestrial and marine areas.  To find out more contact  Jo.Traill-Thomson@naturalengland.org.uk 


Our Naturally Healthy Working Group has joined forces with Somerset LNP to make the 2017 Naturally Healthy Month bigger and better!   Please get involved by organising events  and activities in your community or sharing ideas or stories.  See our Naturally Healthy pages or contact Hannah.colston@activedevon.org.  Please send details of any relevant events to max.anderson@devon.gov.uk   

A series of training workshops are being organised to help engage our target audiences (those of us who are inactive, suffering from mental health issues or socially isolated).  These will include a workshop on Dementia Awareness on 13th March.  Details are being finalised and will be shared shortly.



Funding bid for Naturally Healthy work

To help take forward our Naturally Healthy Campaign the LNP's Naturally Healthy Working Group is submitting an expression of interest for funding from the Sport England Tackling Inactivity Active Ageing Fund.  This aims to get inactive people aged 55+ more active by connecting them with nature.  To find out more  please contact Hannah.Colston@activedevon.org.  We will keep you posted but massive thanks to Hannah and all others involved in this bid. 

South West LNPs Health Conference

In November last year our Chair, Suzanne Goodfellow, spoke at a joint conference (organised by the SW LNPs, NHS and Public Health England) aimed at raising the awareness amongst health professionals of the value of the natural environment.  We have had follow up discussions with Pam Warhurst, national LNP lead for health, and SW LNPs are meeting in February to discuss next steps.


A 'naturally healthy' commute!

The Work Place Challenge is encouraging us all to be more active through walking or cycling to work.  Get involved in the The Big Devon March walking challenge (March) and The Ride to Work Week (13th-19th March).  If you work in Exeter, Barnstaple or Newton Abbot contact traveltowork@devon.gov.uk to find out how they can support your workplace.  Where possible build in a route that involves contact with nature to ensure a great start to the day and if you do have a great  'naturally healthy' commute send us a pic!  

Get Devon Buzzing campaign


Build for Bees Competition - a heads up!

Our 2017 Build for Bees Competition will be launched at the Outdoor Learning conference in March in order to inspire everyone (schools, communities, families, individuals) to create fabulous bug hotels to help our pollinators. Why not run a 'build a bug hotel' event to get your community involved?  For more information and offers of prizes please email  max.anderson@devon.gov.uk

Photo credit: Rose Tabberer (2016 Devon LNP Pollinator Photo Competition Winner)


West Country Buzz

Many bumblebees are in decline and two species have gone extinct since the start of the 20th century. Through the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s West Country Buzz project Devon landowners are adopting pollinator-friendly land management practices through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme: Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package . 

life on the verge

North Devon Biosphere 'Life on the Verge'

The Tarka Country Trust has received Lottery funding for a three year project which will help community groups manage verges for wildlife.  Visit their website to learn more. 

Green Infrastructure

Torrington 'Reverend on the River' arts and plants project

Wolf + Water Arts Company have obtained Lottery funding to work with a range of community groups to use the arts to explore local plants and celebrate the life of the Reverend Keble Martin, who was the vicar of Torrington, & author & illustrator of “The Concise Illustrated Guide to British Flora”.   Visit their website to find out more and get involved.

Artist Anne-Marie Culhane leads a wild food bike foray in the Riverside Valley Park

Exeter valley park secures art funding

The aspiration to create two artworks of international quality in Exeter’s Riverside Valley Park is a step closer with £72,000 of funding secured from developer Eagle Land, the Arts Council, and Exeter City Council. Two artists will now work with local communities on responses to biodiversity, shelter, wild play, and natural solutions to flooding. For more info email: sbates@eastdevon.gov.uk

Image: Artist Anne-Marie Culhane leads a wild food bike foray in the Riverside Valley Park. 



Outdoor Learning


Coastal Creatures

The North Devon Coast AONB has recently launched a project which focuses on the diverse marine and coastal natural heritage of the AONB. Coastal Creatures provides citizen science opportunities to learn about the flora and fauna of these diverse coastal habitats. Visit the Coastal Creatures webpage or contact catherine.oliver@devon.gov.uk


Cob Building

Edwards & Eve Cob Building are award winning earth builders and cob teachers. Together Kate Edwards and Charlotte Eve built their own home from cob and have taught thousands of people around the world how easy it is to build their own affordable and sustainable homes from cob too. They also run exciting earth building workshops in schools. Visit Edwards & Eve Cob Building webpage for more info.

Petition: Develop a GCSE in Natural History

Re-engagement with Britain's natural history has never been more urgent.  Please sign today: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/176749

Wood for Good

Ash dieback

Following publication of the LNP's Devon Ash Dieback Action Plan a Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum was established in July 2016, led by Devon County Council.  The Landscape and Ecological Resilience Group is led by Rob Wolton, Chair of the Devon Hedge Group.  To find out more contact him on robertwolton@devonhedges.org

Sweet Chestnut Blight

An outbreak of sweet chestnut blight, which is caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, has been confirmed at two sites close to each other near Exeter, Devon. Further information, a symptoms factsheet and pest alert are available on the FC website.


Volunteer opportunities at Fingle Woods

The Woodland Trust and National Trust have taken on joint ownership of Fingle Woods in the beautiful Teign Valley and  are looking for more volunteers to help out. Read the full article or email:  finglewoods@woodlandtrust.org.uk



Resilient Wetlands and Farming with Nature

Natural Flood Management

The 2016 LNP Project Pipeline highlighted that a priority for the county was the need to take a more strategic approach to opportunities relating to sustainable land management and flood risk.  A group of specialists was brought together and FWAG SW was commissioned (using DCC Flood Team funding) to produce a report setting out possible actions.  The report ‘Innovation in Agricultural Resource Management’ was published in late 2016.  The group will continue to work together on both the potential to collaborate on natural land management projects at the local scale, whilst also looking for opportunities to progress larger scale, strategic objectives.

A key example of a local Natural Flood Management (NFM) pilot study currently being progressed is the Ackland Stream catchment east of Braunton. DCC, North Devon Biosphere and EA are currently working with landowners here to plan the implementation of measures such as leaky dams, new hedges and constructed wetlands. The outcomes of this study will be assessed through an ongoing monitoring programme, and thereafter used as an evidence base towards progressing future NFM schemes.  To find out more email gemma.carter@devon.gov.uk

Blanket bogs on Dartmoor

Magnificent Mires

Magnificent Mires is a new partnership project between Devon Wildlife Trust, Dartmoor National Park, Dartmoor Preservation Association and the Duchy of Cornwall; supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Over the next year the project will reveal and celebrate the blanket bogs hidden secrets through a programme of events, activities, school visits and walks. For more info visit the Devon Wildlife Trust website.

Image: blanket bogs in bloom on Dartmoor. Copyright property of Dartmoor NPA.

Beaver female with kits

Devon's beavers - your perceptions?


Please take part of Exeter University's questionnaire which is aimed at understanding our perception of the Devon beavers.    The questionnaire will close on 1st March.   https://beaveropinions.typeform.com/to/r66XxP

Also see information on the DWT River Otter Beaver Trial web pages.


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To submit articles for the next newsletter please email max.anderson@devon.gov.uk



To find out more visit our website: www.naturaldevon.org.uk, read our Prospectus and please get involved.  Alternatively contact Sarah Jennings: sarah.jennings@devon.gov.uk (County Ecologist, DCC and Devon LNP Manager)